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Current Performance of China's Government Debt and Evaluation on Fiscal Policy Environment(No. 154, 2016)


By Li Chengjian, Department of Macroeconomic Research, DRC

Research Report No. 154, 2016 (Total 5037) 2016-11-22

Abstract: In recent years, the government debt level in China has attracted great concern both at home and abroad, some people hope that the implementation of active fiscal policy could stimulate economic growth, while others worry about the government’s debt-related risks. In this report, the debt performance at the central and local governments’ level and the fiscal policy environment are reviewed. The research findings show that compared with most developed countries, China’s debt-to-GDP ratio is not high; but compared with countries in the same developing stage with China, like Japan and South Korea, China’s debt-to-GDP ratio is high, especially that of the local governments. For some time to come, the fiscal revenue growth will be slowed down with the slowdown of economic growth, but due to the inflexibility of fiscal expenditure, the contradiction between fiscal revenue and expenditure will become tangible, fiscal deficit will increase, and the solvency ability will be weakened relatively. Therefore, although China's fiscal policy still has some room for making adjustment, we must deal with debt increase carefully, and avoid becoming one of the highly indebted countries prematurely. This report also puts forward some options for the improvement fiscal policy.

Key words: government debt, fiscal revenue and expenditure, policy environment