China Admits First Official Local-Government Loan Default

There has been a growing number of defaults since China first broke its non-payment cherry earlier this year. Names like Chaori Solar have "promised" to pay back the money they owe, only to falter on that promise mere months after a temporary reprieve. Wide-scale panic has for now been avoided by liquidity provision to banks (not shadow-banks) and mini-stimulus which many assumed was targeted at keeping the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) alive no matter what. That 'hope' all changed this weekend... As Bloomberg reports, Qilu Bank's annual report shows that Licheng district urban construction development company has not paid its loan interest..."To the best of our knowledge, this is the first official disclosure of a LGFV default on a bank loan."

As Bloomberg reports,

Bank loans of a local-government urban construction development co. in eastern province of Shandong were in default by end-2013, according to the full-year earnings report of Qilu Bank released in April.


The urban construction development co. of Licheng district in Jinan city, capital of Shandong, owes interest of 6m yuan [which we find fascinatingly small - how bad are things if they cannot fund this?]


The development co. holds a 0.08% stake in Qilu Bank [indicative of the interconnectedness within China]

As Nomura economist Zhang Zhiwei wrote in note today that:

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first official disclosure of a LGFV default on a bank loan."

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For those who need a refresh course on why the Chinese situation is rapidly going from bad to worse, read these several most recent comprehensive articles on the topic:

Bank of America warns further that a more confident government means the start of defaults...


With amazing speed in consolidating power in 2013, a more confident President Xi Jinping and team are expected to push for a wide range of reforms. 2014 will be the year for China seriously cleans up mounting local government and corporate debts which have been rapidly accumulated since late 2008. We believe the chance of some bond and trust loan defaults will rise significantly in 2014, especially as the more confident government sees the need for some defaults to develop a more disciplined financial market