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China's non-financial debt reaches about $22.7 trillion US

Zhu Guangyao, China's vice-minister of Finance, attends the 2015 NetEase Annual Economist Conference at China World Summit Wing on December 16, 2014 in Beijing, China. Photograph: (Getty)

PTI Beijing, China Oct 31, 2016, 03.43 PM (IST)

China's non-financial debt is estimated to be more than $22.7 trillion US, accounting for 227.92 per cent of its GDP, a senior Chinese finance ministry official said today amid concerns it may spiral out control.

"The IMF estimated China's non-financial debts at 153.4 trillion Yuan ($22.7 trillion US) in 2015, accounting for 220.4 per cent of GDP, while the National Institution for Finance & Development (NFID)'s was 154.3 trillion Yuan, or 227.92 per cent of GDP," China's Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said.

China's debt calculation is open and transparent and the risks remain controllable, he was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

He said IMF and NFID figures were almost the same, and the difference stemmed from statistical methods.

Zhu's remarks came amid lingering concerns that China's policymakers underestimated the country's debt level.

However, he dismissed worries about rising debt, describing the level as "reasonable" as both debt ratios of central and local governments were well below 40 per cent.

"Public data reflect that debt risk is completely controllable. But we should be alert to corporate debts which are increasing too fast," Zhu said.

China has an array of measures in place to manage debt risks, especially those of state-owned companies. Guidelines on debt-for-equity swaps have been issued, and a ministerial mechanism has been established to tackle corporate leverage, he said.


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