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Announcement:

Moody's & CCXI's China conferences analyze the challenges that the country faces in managing risks, preserving growth, advancing reform

 The document has been translated in other languages

13 Jun 2017

Hong Kong, June 13, 2017 -- Moody's Investors Service says that economy-wide leverage in China (A1 stable) will rise further over the coming years, given the need to maintain policy stimulus to achieve targeted robust growth levels. In particular, spending by government and government-related entities — including policy banks and state-owned enterprises — will increase.

"China's financial strength will erode gradually over the coming years," says Michael Taylor, a Moody's Managing Director and Chief Credit Officer for Asia Pacific. "While ongoing progress on reforms will likely transform the economy and financial system over time, it will not prevent a further material rise in economy-wide debt, and the consequent increase in contingent liabilities for the government."

Nevertheless, Taylor points out that the strengths of China's credit profile will allow the sovereign to remain resilient to negative shocks, with GDP growth likely to stay strong as against other sovereigns, still considerable scope for policy to adapt to support the economy, and a largely closed capital account.

Taylor was speaking ahead of a series of conferences in China hosted by Moody's and its Chinese affiliate, China Cheng Xin International Credit Rating Co. Ltd. (CCXI). The conferences are titled: "Moody's & CCXI 2017 Mid-Year China Credit Outlook Conference: Sustainability of China's Economic and Credit Trends: Implementation and Implications of Reforms."

At the conference, analysts from Moody's and CCXI will discuss China's macroeconomic landscape and its state-owned enterprises, as well as the outlook for the banking, corporate and structured finance sectors.

Moody's & CCXI explain that while China's GDP will remain very large, and growth will stay high when compared with other sovereigns, potential growth will likely fall in the coming years. And, the government's direct debt burden will rise gradually towards 40% of GDP by 2018, and closer to 45% by the end of the decade.

On the banking sector, Moody's says that reforms in the shape of regulatory actions in China are credit positive for the banks — because, for instance, they reduce the interconnectedness of financial institutions and improve the transparency of asset risk — but they also pressure the banks' liquidity and profitability in the short term.

And, in the life insurance sector, systemic risks are rising because of the insurers' increasing exposures to risky and lumpy assets, as well as their rising surrender rates as well as liquidity and asset-liability mismatches.

As for the structured finance sector, Moody's points out that issuance volumes are increasing, and that ratings for structured transactions are closely linked to the credit quality of related Chinese financial institutions or regional and local governments (RLGs). On Chinese auto loan asset-backed securities, in particular, Moody's says that delinquency rates for these transactions have stayed low, reflecting the overall good performance of the auto loans backing the deals.

"On the government's moves to prevent the RLGs from borrowing through local government financing vehicles, despite the increasing restrictions on the RLGs in supporting their local government financing vehicles, upper-tier RLGs will likely continue to provide support, in cases that could trigger national- or regional-level systemic risk and undermine the social fabric of the country," says Ivan Chung, a Moody's Associate Managing Director.

Moody's & CCXI 2017 Mid-Year China Credit Outlook Conference, with the theme "Sustainability of China's Economic and Credit Trends: Implementation and Implications of Reforms" takes place in Beijing on 13 June, Shanghai on 15 June, and Shenzhen on 20 June.

Related research may also be found through Moody's topic page "China's Trilemma: Growth, Reform and Stability", available at http://www.moodys.com/chinarebalancing. This page provides a centralized source for Moody's research related to key credit issues in China as the country's macroeconomic story continues to unfold.

Recent Moody's publications relating to China's Trilemma include:

• China's Guidelines for Land Revenue Bonds Are Credit Positive for Local Governments

• Auto ABS - China: Delinquencies will remain low following good performance in Q1 2017

• China's Sovereign Rating: Drivers of the Rating Change to A1 Stable from Aa3 Negative and How the Change Affects Other Issuers

• Structured Finance - China: Chinese Structured Finance Ratings Can Be Above Sovereign Level

• China Credit: Sovereign Downgrade to A1 Has Limited Implications for Rated Portfolio

• China, Government of

• China Property Focus: Sales Slow in Face of Continued Regulatory Tightening

• Government of China -- A1 Stable: Update Following Downgrade to A1 and Change of Outlook to Stable

• China's Stricter Regulatory Framework for Regional and Local Government Financial Management Is Credit Positive

• Chinese Non-Property Companies-Research April 2017

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Ivan Chung
Associate Managing Director
Greater China Credit Research
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

Michael Taylor
MD-CCO APAC
Credit Strategy and Standards
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

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