Beijing is accelerating plans to launch a “national accounts” (国家账本) system that will provide an official tally of the country’s assets and liabilities.
Earlier this month the State Council gave its approval to the “China National Economic Calculation System (2016)” (中国国民经济核算体系（2016）), and the “National and Local Balance Sheet Formulation Work Plan), signalling the formal launch of China’s efforts to create a national balance sheet.
State-run news outlet Economic Observer has since reported that officials are accelerating the development of an official national balance sheet, with hopes for its completion prior to the year’s.
According to sources China will likely complete work on the national balance sheet for 2015 by the start of 2018, with the 2017 regional balance sheets slated for completion in 2019.
The National Bureau of Statistics is reportedly cooperating with the regional offices of the National Development and Reform Commission to produce trial balance sheets in a total of 11 provinces and municipalities including Beijing.
Like the balance sheet for any other economic actor, the official national and regional balance sheets will provide a snapshot of China’s economic state for a given point in time, and seek to provide a comprehensive picture of both assets and liabilities.
The official national balance sheet will encompass non-financial assets, financial assets, and liabilities.
The idea of national and regional balance sheets were first mooted by the Third Session of the 18th Central Party Committee back in 2013, with official work in this area making especially strong progress since the start of 2017.
On 26 June 2017 the Chinese central government’s “Comprehensive Reform Deepening Leadership Team” haves its approval to the “National and Regional Balance Sheet Formulation Work Plan” (全国和地方资产负债表编制工作方案).
Zhang Monan (张茉楠), a researcher from the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, has previously written that the creation of a national balance sheet system will permit more accurate and impartial assessment of the Chinese economy, particularly when it comes to the country’s debt levels.