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Report: China tackles local debt concerns with new project bond

The Chinese government has moved to address concerns that local governments may be accumulating excessive debt by introducing a new type of bond that will only be repaid with income from projects it is used to finance, the South China Morning Post reported.

The bonds will initially only be available to fund land and toll road projects, the finance ministry said, according to the newspaper. Other bonds sold by local governments have been serviced from their general revenues.

Some 15.3 trillion yuan of local government debt was outstanding at the end of 2016, official data showed, below the 17.2 trillion yuan approved cap. But Chinese lawmakers have expressed concern that these figures may not reveal the whole picture.

"There's no clear answer to the actual number of hidden debts," lawmakers said, according to the South China Morning Post. "We can't overlook that this may lead to systemic risks."

As of Aug. 2, US$1 was equivalent to 6.72 Chinese yuan.