A new study from the China Academy of Social Sciences indicates that the Chinese government’s total assets are more than sufficient to cover its liabilities, even when social security obligations are taken into account
According to the report released at the China Government Balance 2017 Launch and Government Financial Report Academic Symposium (中国政府资产负债表2017发布会暨政府财务报告学术研讨会) held in Beijing on 24 August, total government assets were 125 trillion yuan (USD$18.77 trillion) in 2015, equal to over 180% of national GDP.
Chinese government assets remained above the 100 trillion yuan threshold during the period from 2010 to 2015, equivalent to 180% of GDP on average.
When social security obligations are taken into account the Chinese government’s total liabilities rose from roughly 40 trillion yuan to 70 trillion yuan during the 2010-2015 period, for an increase of 70%.
Excluding social security obligations the government’s total liabilities increased from 30 trillion yuan to 60 trillion yuan across the same period, for an approximately doubling in size.
When social security obligations are included the Chinese government’s net assets fluctuated between 40 to 50 trillion yuan during the 2010-2015 period, equalling 80% of national GDP on average.
When social security obligations are excluded the government’s net asset position fluctuated between 50 – 60 trillion yuan, remaining roughly commensurate with China’s GDP.
Financial assets comprised approximately 70% of the Chinese government’s goal assets in 2015, while “service category assets” accounted for roughly 30%.