China Says Foreign Debt up 16%

Debt hit $363.6 billion at end of 2007

China's debt to the outside world kept rising last year, with higher-risk short-term borrowing taking up a growing share. April 9. Foreign debt hit $373.6 billion by the end of 2007, up 15.7% from the end of 2006, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said April 9.

Short-term debt -- defined as loans with maturities of less than one year -- accounted for 58.9% of that amount, it said.

At the end of 2006, short-term debt stood at 56.9% of the total, according to earlier data.

Despite the growth in overseas borrowing, China remains in a position to service its debt, as it also holds the world's largest foreign exchange reserves.

Fuelled by an enormous trade surplus, China's forex reserves reached $1.65 trillion in late February, according to the latest figures available.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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