China Debt Load Reaches Record High as Risk to Economy Mounts

China’s total debt rose to a record 237 percent of gross domestic product in the first quarter, far above emerging-market counterparts, raising the risk of a financial crisis or a prolonged slowdown in growth, economists warn.

Beijing has turned to massive lending to boost economic growth, bringing total net debt to Rmb163 trillion ($25 trillion) at the end of March, including both domestic and foreign borrowing, according to Financial Times calculations.

Such levels of debt are much higher as a proportion of national income than in other developing economies, although they are comparable to levels in the U.S. and the eurozone.

While the absolute size of China’s debt load is a concern, more worrying is the speed at which it has accumulated — Chinese debt was only 148 percent of GDP at the end of 2007.

CNBC

Craig Erlam
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the BBC and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, FOX Business and BNN. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.