China's Local Governments Just Got Permission To Issue Their Own Bonds

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SHANGHAI (AP) — China is giving the go-ahead for several local authorities to sell bonds as it moves to bridge financing shortfalls and prevent debt defaults by overextended provinces.

The Ministry of Finance said in a notice Thursday that Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces and Shenzhen, a special economic zone bordering Hong Kong, would be allowed to issue three-year and five-year bonds on a trial basis, subject to quotas.

China normally prohibits local governments from issuing bonds directly or from taking bank loans, confining such bonds to those issued by the central government on their behalf.

Local governments owe about 10.7 trillion yuan ($1.7 trillion) in debt through financing platforms set up to support construction projects. Issuing bonds would help them to honour those obligations.

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