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China's Finance Minister: yet to decide whether to expand local debt swap

[BOAO, China] China has yet to decide whether to expand a recently announced one trillion yuan (S$222 billion) debt swap for local govenments, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on Friday.

Any expansion of the debt swap would "depend on circumstances", Mr Lou said at the annual Boao forum on the island of Hainan in southern China. The swap is not a bailout, he added.

On March 8, the ministry announced local governments would be permitted to swap one trillion yuan of maturing, high-interest local debt for new official municipal or provincial bonds, to help cut interest costs.

Chinese state media have reported that the eventual quota could be 3 trillion yuan.

REUTERS