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China tells banks to roll over loans

China has instructed its banks to embark on a mammoth roll-over of loans to local governments, delaying the country’s reckoning with debts that have clouded its economic prospects.

 China’s stimulus response to the global financial crisis saddled its provinces and cities with Rmb10.7tn ($1.7tn) in debts – about a quarter of the country’s output – and more than half those loans are scheduled to come due over the next three years.

 Since the principal on many of the loans is not repayable, banks have started extending maturities for local governments to avoid a wave of defaults, bankers and analysts familiar with the matter told the Financial Times. One person briefed on the plan said in some cases the maturities would be extended by as much as four years.

 While some analysts have warned that many loans will still go bad and that a roll-over only postpones the problem, government advisers believe that it will give Beijing time to find a more permanent solution to its debt troubles

 Source: Financial Times

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