保八后遗症

中国去年的经济表现非常抢眼。我以前讨论过为什么中国的财政刺激政策比西方国家看起来更有效(链接)。主要是中国国有经济占比重很大,政府扩张后给经济带来的拉动效应很强。然而由于政府支出不是有市场需求决定,往往效率低下。尤其是在短期内的大规模扩张,会造成很大浪费。政府扩张后的另一个后果就是财政赤字。赤字现在已经成为困扰西方国家的一个重要问题,比如欧盟和美国。中国现在也有这个趋势。今天的华尔街时报报道,中国地方政府债务过于庞大已经给中国的金融系统造成了隐患。中国花了近10年时间来清理银行系统的坏帐,好不容易在06年左右银行系统有了起色。希望这次的坏帐规模不要让银行系统“一夜回到十年前”。
 
 
 
 
Frm WSJ
 
China Airs Concerns Over Debt In Regions

By Terence Poon
9 March 2010

BEIJING — Signs mounted Monday of Chinese authorities’ concern about the risk from debt incurred by local governments in projects to help China’s economy recover — an issue that is a hot topic at the National People’s Congress, now meeting in Beijing.

China’s leaders have increased scrutiny of this debt over the past months, fearing that local governments won’t be able to pay back all their loans. The issue was also highlighted in the Ministry of Finance’s budget report released at the start of the annual legislative session on Friday. The added spotlight on officials at the meeting has prompted regulators from several agencies to discuss the issue publicly.

The China banking regulator’s Shanghai branch said Monday that it is requiring banks in the city to reassess loans extended to local governments. An official who heads a municipal government’s investment arm says local governments were instructed late last year by the Ministry of Finance to stop offering loan guarantees for their investment arms.

Su Ning, a vice governor of the central bank, also addressed the riskiness of such loans Monday, saying some of the investment vehicles borrowed for infrastructure projects that won’t necessarily generate earnings, making loan repayment difficult.

The comments added to indications by Minister of Finance Xie Xuren and central bank Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan over the weekend that the central government plans to curb investment growth and make banks pay for taking on risks, in order to avoid moral hazard and reform the system to give local governments more financing options.

Local governments in China aren’t allowed to run deficits, issue debt or make guarantees. However, banks have chosen or been pressured to ignore this law in recent years, said Stephen Green, head of research at Standard Chartered Bank (China) Ltd.

Many local governments have set up special investment vehicles that borrowed from banks to fund infrastructure projects, capitalizing these vehicles with local governments’ land assets and providing guarantees for them.

These projects have helped China rebound from the global financial crisis, but have also raised concerns within the government about risk; such loans don’t appear on the government’s books, but may hurt banks and public finances if they turn bad.

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