Caixin
Mar 20, 2019 07:11 PM
DAILY CHART

Chart of the Day: Local Government Bond Issuance up Over 1,100% in February

Local governments issued 364.2 billion yuan ($54.3 billion) worth of bonds in February, up sharply from 28.5 billion yuan in the same month in 2018, according to Ministry of Finance data (link in Chinese) released Wednesday.

That was down from January, however, when 418 billion yuan of local government bonds were issued. There were no bonds issued in the same period a year earlier.

The surge was due to the earlier-than-usual approval from the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature. In December, the NPC said local governments could start to issue bonds at the start of 2019, in a bid to boost infrastructure spending to aid the slowing economy. Previously, local bond issuance usually started after March.

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Out of the 364.2 billion yuan issued in February, 192.5 billion yuan was raised from general bonds, with the rest made up of special-purpose bonds. General bonds contribute to local government fiscal revenues and are in turn paid off with fiscal revenues. Special-purpose bonds are used to fund specific projects, including infrastructure, and are paid back by revenues from those projects or corresponding revenues from government-managed funds.

The outstanding debt of local governments stood at 19.14 trillion yuan as of the end of February, including 315.1 billion yuan worth of debt that hadn’t been converted to bonds. The NPC set a quota of 24.08 trillion yuan worth of outstanding local government debt for 2019.

Contact reporter Liu Jiefei (jiefeiliu@caixin.com)

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