China loosens grip on short-term foreign debt


China raised its short-term foreign debt quota for financial institutions by 12 percent this year in an effort to support foreign trade financing of domestic businesses, said the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) here Friday.

    Financial institutions in China are able to borrow short-term foreign loans worth 32.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2009, SAFE said in a statement on its website.

    According to the statement, the foreign debt amount added this year should be used on trade financing to help China's domestic companies with exports and imports.

    China had tightened the short-term foreign debt quota for banks and financial institutions over the past two years in an effort to control expanding overseas borrowing and relieve pressure on the yuan's appreciation, SAFE said.

    In 2008, the short-term foreign debt quota had been cut by 10 percent compared with the 2007 level.

    China's exports plummeted 25.7 percent year-on-year in February, the worst decline in more than a decade.