From Reuters: China to Clean Up Billions Worth of Local Debt
China’s regulators plan to shift 2-3 trillion yuan ($308-463 billion) of debt off local governments, sources said, reducing the risk of a wave of defaults that would threaten the stability of the world’s second-biggest economy.
As part of Beijing’s overhaul of the finances of heavily-indebted local governments, the central government will pay off some of their loans and state banks including some of the “Big Four” will be forced to take some losses on the bad debt, said the sources, both of whom have direct knowledge of the plans.
Part of the debt will also be shifted to newly created companies, while private investors would be welcomed in projects previously off-limits to them, sources said.
Beijing will also lift a ban on provincial and municipal governments selling bonds, a step aimed at bolstering their finances with more transparent sources of funding.
Many analysts see China’s pile of local government bad debt as a major risk to the economy, especially as the economy slows, but few see widespread banking fallout as they believe cash-rich Beijing can step in to soak up losses.
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