Debt soars to 303pc of GDP

Business | Tereza Cai 18 Jul 2019

China's total stock of corporate, household and government debt now exceeds 303 percent of gross domestic product and makes up about 15 percent of all global debt, according to a report published by the Institute of International Finance.

That is up from just under 297 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

With nominal GDP growth now running at about 8 percent, far outpaced by the growth in aggregate financing at about 11 percent, the debt-to-GDP ratio is bound to increase, according to Raymond Yeung at Australia & New Zealand Banking.

The hunt for safer investments amid rising bond defaults in China is helping to stoke startling growth in the nation's pile of asset-backed securities, according to a top underwriter.

The asset-backed market is expected to expand 45 percent to 4.5 trillion yuan (HK$5.1 trillion) by the end of this year, said Zuo Fei, general manager of the innovation financing department from China Merchants Securities.

The sector also had little impact from the surprise government takeover of a troubled lender in May, he said.

China's state-backed media Economic Daily reported that there is still room for easing monetary policies, but not with significant interest rate or reserve requirement ratio cuts.

Iris Pang, economist for Greater China at ING Bank, estimated that the mainland infrastructure investment for 2019 could be doubled from the investment house's previous forecast of 2 trillion yuan if needed, mainly on building metro lines across cities.

She forecast that mainland economic growth would remain at 6.3 percent for the third quarter and fourth quarters.


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