Wednesday, July 20, 2011

25% of Local Government Debt in China Due by End of Year

I don't think we're going to have to wait long to see how the local government debt in China is going to play out. Under-the-table loans made with little oversight backed by the overvalued land and few revenue streams to pay it all back. How's that for a mix?

Tackling local government debt from China Daily
The 10.7 trillion yuan is not a small number, and 80 percent of it comes from bank loans. More than half of these debts have to be paid off between 2011 and 2013. Indeed local governments will have to race against time, as about 25 percent of their loans have to be paid off before the end of this year, and 17 percent next year.
In the first half of 2008, the total amount of local government debt was just 1.7 trillion yuan. At the end of 2010, the figure was up to 10.7 trillion yuan, which was equivalent to 27 percent of China's GDP in 2010, according to the National Audit Office.

So, revenue streams to pay back this debt, anyone?
Finally, we should further expand the range of real estate taxes and fully apply a property tax. The property tax collected by developed countries has already become an important part of public finance at both the state and local levels.
All good in sentiment, but that's probably not going to happen by the end of the year to a degree significant enough to pay back $400 billion. Can local governments toss the balls into the air one more time and sell enough land to cover?


jesse said...

Realistically the central government will figure out some way of churning the loans over. I don't see a breaking point yet.

GG said...

They made noises like the central government was going to swoop in with a rescue. (I think in the interests of then forcing local governments to cough up some funds for affordable housing, but that's just my wild crazy guess.). But nothing ever came of it.

Whatever the outcome, we don't have to wait long.