Updated: 2013-01-23 ( chinadaily.com.cn) - The size of China's city in-vestment vehicle is expected to surge 25 percent year-on-year in January, as local government ramped up efforts to borrow for infra-structure projects despite a slowdown since 2011.
By Jan 17, 31 city investment vehicle companies across China issued a total of 32.5 billion yuan ($5.22 billion) bonds, according to Wind, a Chinese financial data provider. The agency estimated total bonds will be 50 billion yuan for the whole month, up 25 percent from a year earlier.
Of the 31 firms, 20 came from China's eastern region, which mainly consists of local State-owned enterprises, highway management companies, urban construction companies and port compa-nies.
An analyst with Huatai Securities said local govern-ments increase the size of city investment vehicles because other financing vehicles have become more regulated.
As Chinese law prohibits local leaders in most places from borrowing directly, local governments use various ways to raise money for infrastructure. These methods include city investment vehicles and other trust companies and wealth management products.
Although they differ in form, these debts are guaranteed by local land, and some observers fear many of those loans may turn sour if growth or the property market slows.
Official data on local gov-ernment debt stood at 10.7 trillion yuan ($1.72 trillion) by the end of 2010. Haitong Securities estimated the figure might have grown to 13 trillion yuan by the end of 2012, or 25 percent of China's GDP in 2012, reported Economic Information, a newspaper affiliated with Xinhua.