BEIJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- China will make containing risks of local government debt an important task for 2014, as rising debt is becoming a major threat to the country's healthy development.
"China should coordinate short-term measures and a long-term mechanism to defuse the local government debt risks," said a Friday statement issued after the Central Economic Work Conference. The meeting traditionally sets the tone for next year's economic planning.
The statement promises strict procedures for raising debt, and that local governments will be held accountable for their debt. It also pledged to correct the GDP-obsession mindset of many officials.
Friday's announcement came just days after the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee decided on a new system to evaluate officials, abandoning much of the focus on GDP.
"Local government debt will be an important indicator in assessing the performance of officials," the department said.
Local government debt surged during the investment and construction binge that was part and parcel of a stimulus in 2008 to buffer against the global financial crisis.
A huge number of debt-financed projects have not generated any cash flow since. Local government debt, which the National Audit Office (NAO) estimates at around 10 trillion yuan (1.64 trillion U.S. dollars), has become a major threat to financial stability.
To get a more clear understanding of the situation, the NAO announced a nationwide audit of government debt in July, but the results have yet to be published.
The most recent official data on local government debt was a NAO survey released in June that put the debt of 36 local governments at 3.85 trillion yuan at the end of 2012, up 12.9 percent from 2010.
China to maintain consistent economic policies in 2014
BEIJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- China will continue to implement its proactive fiscal and prudent monetary policies in 2014, according to a statement issued Friday after the closure of a four-day central economic work conference.
The country will push forward interest rate liberalization and exchange rate reforms next year, the statement said. Full story
Three-dimensional policy drives steady growth of Chinese economy in 2013
BEIJING, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- A three-dimensional policy focusing on the macro economy, micro economy and social security has led to steady growth of the Chinese economy in 2013 amid uncertain post-crisis recovery worldwide.
China's macroeconomic data released this week show the country is on track to meet the government's economic growth target for this year. Full story
China's economy to grow 7.5%
BEIJING, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- China's economy is expected to expand 7.6 percent in 2013 and then edge down to around 7.5 percent in 2014, the State Information Center (SIC), a government think tank, has forecast.
The SIC advised the central government to set the economic growth target for 2014 at 7 percent in an effort to focus more effort on reform and adjusting the economic structure. Full story
China's economy to maintain growth: think tank
BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- A major government think tank on Tuesday predicted "a stable growth with medium and high-speed" for China's economy in 2014, but said that high local government debt, employment and environmental issues still challenge the country's development.
According to "The Economic Bluebook: Analysis and Forecast of China's Economy in 2014," issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the country's GDP will increase by about 7.5 percent in 2014, and reform, opening up and economic restructuring will accelerate. Full story
China Focus: China's central bank expected to maintain monetary stance
BEIJING, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Higher-than-expected growth in China's new RMB lending and total social financing in November indicates that China's liquidity conditions remain favorable for 7.5 percent or higher GDP growth, and the central bank is likely to maintain its monetary stance, economists said.
Market participants had been worried over possible credit tightening measures by the central bank, the People's Bank of China (PBOC), due to a jump in yields on Chinese government bonds (CGB) in mid-November. Full story