AFP: Moody’s this week slashed China’s credit rating for the first time in almost three decades citing concerns about the country’s rising debt and slowing growth, but Beijing rejected the downgrade as ‘inappropriate’.
The move comes as China tries to clean up a toxic brew of unregulated and risky lending that for years has fuelled the economy’s spectacular growth, though some analysts doubt Beijing’s willingness to quit its debt addiction.
“The downgrade reflects Moody’s expectation that China’s financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to rise as potential growth slows,” the agency said.
China’s total outstanding credit surged to 260 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2016 and the International Monetary Fund has warned that a debt crisis in the country could ‘imperil global financial stability’.
The government has trimmed its 2017 growth target to around 6.5 percent after it expanded 6.7 percent in 2016, the slowest growth rate since 1990.
China’s 13th five-year-plan released in 2016 announced an average annual growth rate of above 6.5 percent for 2016-2020.
But Moody’s said it expects China’s growth potential to decline to close to five percent over the next five years, citing diminishing investment, an accelerated fall in the working age population and a continuing dip in productivity.