China’s debt grew in September at fastest pace in four years

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A shopping mall under construction in Chongqing, China. Photo: Reuters / Stringer

A Reuters analysis of more than 2,000 China-listed firms showed total debt at the end of September jumping by 23% from a year ago, according to a report Sunday. The increase, which comes amid an ongoing deleveraging campaign, represented the fastest pace of growth since 2013.

The analysis shows the degree to which de-risking and deleveraging efforts have been concentrated within financial sector so far, with real estate and industrial sectors leading the way in debt growth.

Industrials’ total share of debt among the firms covered rose by 3% from the end of 2012, while real estate firms share jumped by 7%.

According to the report, debt servicing costs have accounted for close to a quarter of state-owned companies’ revenue. That ratio rose to 27% in the second quarter before falling to just below 25% in the third quarter on increased revenue.

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