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Chinese government debt risks under control

[BEIJING] China's government debt risks are generally under control, though liabilities have risen relatively fast in recent years, the official Shanghai Securities Journal reported on Friday citing a report from a government think tank.

Overall liabilities, including the shortfall in social security funds, rose about 70 per cent from 2010 to 2015 to 70 trillion yuan (S$14.309 trillion), the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Cass) said in a report on the government's balance sheet.

China's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015 was 68.65 trillion yuan.

The think tank warned against the build-up of risks in local government debt, contingent liability in foreign debt and bond issuance by quasi-public agencies.

China's official government debt is relatively low compared to its GDP, though many analysts warn that high levels of debt among state firms means actual levels of debt the government could be liable for are much higher.

The assets of the Chinese government exceeded 125 trillion yuan in 2015, the report said.

The government is able to effectively cope with debt risks, the report said, adding that Cass' estimate of liabilities is the upper limit as it includes all shortfalls and contingent debts.