Breaking Down China's $23 Trillion Debt Pile

Tyler Durden's picture

Back in April, we highlighted Beijing’s "massive debt problem", noting that as of last year, total debt in China amounted to some $28 trillion when you include government debt, corporate debt, and household borrowing. 

As Bloomberg noted at the time - and as we’ve discussed extensively - Beijing is facing the virtually impossible task of trying to de-leverage and releverage at the same time.

"Various parts of the government don’t always seem to be working from the same playbook," Bloomberg observed, before quoting Credit Agricole’s Dariusz Kowalczyk who pointed out the "obvious contradiction between attempts to deleverage the economy and attempts to boost growth."

Indeed, there are times when the scale seems to tip in favor of deleveraging. For instance, Beijing has recently shown a willingness to tolerate defaults and the case of Baoding Tianwei Group Co even suggested that in some instances, state-affiliated companies may not receive immediate government support. Nevertheless, the abrupt 180 on LGVF financing and the transformation of the local government debt restructuring initiative into the Chinese version of LTROs betrays the extent to which China is still reluctant to deleverage its economy in the face of flagging growth. 

Against that backdrop we bring you the following graphic from Bloomberg which breaks down China’s massive debt pile and shows the degree to which it’s grown over the past decade.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Smegley Wanxalot's picture

That aint a pile of debt.  It's a pile of Hope & Change, in Chinese.

Stackers's picture

Another decade or two and they might catch up with U.S.'s current $60 trillion in total debt.......

nmewn's picture

ONLY...232% of


Awww fuck it, I know who I'm voting for now ;-)

jmcwala's picture

Great video.. Just when you thought you've seen it all!

Cruel Aid's picture

expensive but extra tasty

or multi task cheap

MarkGoldman's picture

First youtube vid I've ever clicked on ZH...yeah thats uh, one way to do it. 

I though it was going to be a rick-roll, but instead I learned how Ted rolls. 

Joe A's picture

Ok, that includes government debt, corporate debt, and household borrowing. Does anybody have any figures on US debt and other countries debts (that also include government debt, corporate debt, and household borrowing)?

All these numbers are mind boggling. This whole debt thing is too bizarre really. Defies all logic.

The Ingenious Gentleman's picture

This a year and a half old, but at least it gives some comparisons. I agree that these sorts of articles aren't much help without comparisons.

redd_green's picture

You will not ever, ever know China's real debt.   The Chinese government has that s**t kept very secret. 

PrimalScream's picture

This is the REAL story of the year.

But I doubt seriously that anyone knows the true debt figures for China. In fact, I really doubt that the Central Bank of China has a handle on this problem.  The inside guts of the Chinese debt situation - is a cancer that is out of control.

WHY do you think they are so anxious to stop the meltdown on the Shanghai Index?????  It's not just because of stock values.  They are shaking in their shoes that the whole Chinese Debt Bubble will IMPLODE. 

If it goes ... It will take the whole world down with it.  GAME OVER!!!  And quite literally, if enough foreign capital flees China now, that is enough to start the snowball rolling downhill.


Antifaschistische's picture

So, is there a difference between China and the US.

Sure...even though we may question the quality of everything from the Three Gorges Dam to the quality of a Light Rail Line, we still see that China spent trillions on building 'stuff' they believe (perhaps erroneously) that their citizens can actually use.

The US, on the other hand, has 18.4 Trillion in debt...and we haven't built anything.   Our balance sheet does not all.  It's just pure liabilities.  

Who wins?  Time will tell.  Get the popcorn.

nmewn's picture

Come on mang!

They went from 10 trillion to 18.4 in only six years! Thats a helluva an accomplishment, ya gotta admit. They bailed out the Wall Street banks! Then passed out subsidies for ObamaFawons, solar panels, pond scum algae, Fisker Roadsters, Tesla shit, corn/ethanol (the maize "folks" down south are still pissed about that) and "aquired" their car company back (Government Motors).

The Chi-Coms are pikers!

Atomizer's picture

That was a good post. Laughing is good medicine for seeing the truth. All we need is to throw a few Obama turds on the wall to see what sticks. 

falak pema's picture

SO  many tall buildings and so many short men. 

8 million bicycles in Peking; but unfortunately more cars than they can afford. 

Payne's picture

What were they supposes to do when the Federal Reserve does it, they have to steal the idea and improve on it or mass produce the idea with crappy quality.  They have done both.  Thank your Federal Reserve.

CHC's picture
CHC (not verified) Aug 3, 2015 6:32 PM

I don't understand all these numbers - way too many zeros.

napper's picture

Then ignore the zeroes if that helps.

Dominus Ludificatio's picture

I would not trust China dedt or financial figures .They operate with smoke and mirrors as long as it helps them  achieve their central planner  goals.They have the power to manipulate the digits to make everything wonderful.

Atomizer's picture

Tianjin, China: Lots of buildings, few people - CNN Video -

They bought our debt to rebuild their infrastructure to flock globalization development. Semi-Periphery was hoodwinked on false Wallstreet forecast under the Federal Reserve central banking scam of ZIRP. 

More broken promises which will lead in many financial spin doctors deaths. This problem is global, no longer just domestic.

Jus7tme's picture

There is no category for househould mortgage debt in the charts. Where is it hiding?

Sorry_about_Dresden's picture

Do they have mortgages in China?

I know they operate on 75 year leases so maybe you just pay perpetually or for 75 years. Then they by bundle leases and sell them?

Must be a state secret because I have been there 4 times and I still can't get anyone to talk about it.

The places are nice, especially w/ BMW parked at n the underground garage.

I think their standard of living was higher than the East coast of USA for sure.

Chinese do not talk about those things.

goldman58's picture

I guess they learned a lot from King obola when he visited them

Atomizer's picture

Fuck off Project Venus. You'll be hunted down. Paradise is going to be a dirtnap to compost your body into nature's way of leaving your carbon footprint. 

Paradise or Oblivion

g3h's picture

ZH: need a bigger graph.  Can't see.

Atomizer's picture 

Service is not free. Stop using a ifag phone to look at financial graphs. Buy a Blackberry Passport. ;p


TeethVillage88s's picture

Agree it is eather stupidity or a Marketing Hook. Atomizer seems to indicate it is an agreed upton hook.

"... total debt in China amounted to some $28 trillion when you include government debt, corporate debt, and household borrowing..."

I would like to see a comparison between countries or major Economies here. Seems natural.

What was the Criteria btw?

USA with $200 Trillion, $100 Trillion to friendly Press, $18 Trillion in US Government Treasury Bonds.

So... What the hell is the Criteria for $23 Trillion Debt Definition.


ZH just become US Congress and US MSM coverage of Congress... a damn Sycophant.


Editor!! Tyler!! I am drunk and I can see this.

Or maybe I'm just drunk... let me go back and look.

Fiat Envy's picture

I have trouble getting my mind around this.  The Chinese government is on both side of a lot of these loans.  Gov. banks loan to gov. companies, the central bank swaps its debt for munis.