In January, 698.9 billion yuan was issued, and the scale increased and the rhythm accelerated——

  Early issuance and quick use of local government bonds are effective

  Our reporter Li Hualin

  This year, the issuance of local government bonds began to increase in volume.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Finance, local governments issued 698.9 billion yuan of local government bonds in January, including 583.7 billion yuan of new local government bonds and 115.2 billion yuan of refinancing bonds.

  Compared with the same period last year, the scale of bond issuance has increased, and the pace of issuance has been significantly accelerated, reflecting the macro policy requirements of "proactive fiscal policy should improve efficiency, pay more attention to precision and sustainability" and "appropriate policy efforts should be prioritized". It has provided strong support for coping with the downward pressure on the economy and stabilizing the macroeconomic market.

  The pace of bond issuance has accelerated

  This year, the issuance of local government bonds has changed from the "long overdue" in 2021 and returned to the rhythm of early issuance and fast use.

The Ministry of Finance revealed that the new local government debt limit of 1,788 billion yuan in 2022 has been issued in advance, of which the general debt limit is 328 billion yuan and the special debt limit is 1,460 billion yuan, laying the foundation for the new local debt to be effective in the beginning of the year.

  The enthusiasm for issuing bonds in various places is high, and the pace of issuance has accelerated significantly.

A few days ago, Henan successfully issued the country's first local government special bond of 38.201 billion yuan in 2022, kicking off this year's special bond issuance.

Subsequently, Beijing, Chongqing, Shandong and other places also announced plans to issue local bonds.

  "In January, local governments issued 698.9 billion yuan of local government bonds, an increase of 336.6 billion yuan or more than 90% from 362.3 billion yuan in the same period last year." Wang Zecai, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences, said that in the first quarter of last year, due to the better-than-expected economic recovery, stable The growth pressure is relatively small, coupled with relatively sufficient funds for project construction, the pace of local bond issuance has slowed down significantly.

This year, the downward pressure on the economy has increased, and the central government has demanded that stable growth be placed in a more prominent position, and infrastructure investment should be carried out moderately ahead of schedule. The pace of bond issuance in various regions has accelerated significantly.

  From the perspective of capital investment, the demand for major projects in the fields of people's livelihood is strong, and the investment in transportation infrastructure, municipal construction and industrial park infrastructure accounts for nearly half of the investment.

The data shows that the newly added general bonds are mainly used for transportation infrastructure of 25.755 billion yuan and municipal construction of 21.298 billion yuan; the newly added special bonds are respectively used for municipal and industrial park infrastructure 165.355 billion yuan, and transportation infrastructure 105.518 billion yuan.

  "At present, the economic operation is at the hurdle of climbing the slope, and by issuing debt quotas in advance, accelerating the progress of expenditures, and accurately investing funds, the positive role of bond funds in expanding effective investment, optimizing investment structure, and improving investment efficiency can be better played. "Wang Zecai said that after the bond funds are in place, it can play the role of credit enhancement and endorsement for the follow-up financing of the project, and guide social capital to further increase investment, which is conducive to hedging the uncertain risks caused by shrinking demand, supply shocks and weakening expectations, and helping Steady growth, strong stamina, and increased kinetic energy.

  Strong boost to infrastructure investment

  As an important tool for proactive fiscal policy, the issuance and use of special bonds has attracted much attention.

  Xu Hongcai, deputy minister of the Ministry of Finance, previously stated that the preparations for the issuance of special bonds in 2022 should be "early", the timing of the issuance should be "accurate", and the use of funds should be "fast".

At the same time, considering the great pressure on stable growth in the first quarter of 2022, all localities are required to issue and use early in the first quarter.

All localities will make in-depth and detailed project reserves, reasonably speed up the progress of use, and ensure that bond funds form a physical workload as soon as possible.

  At the end of January, Chongqing issued the first batch of new government special bonds of 27.402 billion yuan this year.

The Chongqing Municipal Bureau of Finance stated that after the funds are in place, they will be allocated as soon as possible to promote the project to start construction as soon as possible in the first quarter and speed up the construction.

Shandong Province also successfully issued the first batch of special government bonds this year at the end of January, with an amount of 78.938 billion yuan.

The relevant person in charge of the Shandong Provincial Department of Finance said that by the end of February, we will strive to complete the issuance of the 141 billion yuan quota approved by the central government in advance, and effectively give full play to the direct driving effect of special bonds on effective investment, so as to ensure that the early issuance and quick use will see actual results.

In mid-January, Shanghai clearly proposed to speed up the issuance and use of special government bonds to ensure that the issuance of local government special bonds in 2022 issued by the Ministry of Finance in advance is completed in the first quarter, and timely disbursement to project units according to the progress, and strive to complete all local government bonds in the first half of the year. Issuance of special government bonds.

  Experts believe that under the general tone of moderate policy efforts, in order to implement the Ministry of Finance's requirement to "promote the issuance and use of quotas issued in advance in the first quarter", the issuance of special bonds will be significantly accelerated. The macro economy provides strong support.

  The accelerated issuance of special bonds is expected to give a significant boost to infrastructure investment.

According to the statistics of Cinda Securities, among the 20 provinces and cities that issued new special bonds in January, 18 provinces and cities had more than 50% of the new special bonds used for infrastructure, of which 10 provinces and cities reached 80% and 50%. Above, the proportion of Liaoning (excluding Dalian) and Guangxi provinces is 100%.

  "This year's local two sessions, many local governments clearly mentioned that they should actively expand effective investment this year, promote the construction of major projects, and appropriately deploy infrastructure in advance to realize the driving effect of investment on economic growth. It is expected that February will usher in the rapid development of infrastructure. Growth." said the macro team of Cinda Securities.

  Stable growth and risk prevention

  The Central Economic Work Conference proposed to resolutely curb new hidden debts of local governments, which means that the policy side will seek a balance between stabilizing growth and preventing risks. To promote the positive role of economic growth, we must resolutely prevent and defuse risks, curb new hidden debts, and enhance fiscal sustainability.

  Among them, the issue that the bond issuance period is too long or it is easy to breed blind borrowing is worthy of attention.

"In recent years, the issuance scale of long-term government special bonds such as 15, 20, or even 25, 30 years has been continuously expanded. By extending the project income period to cover the bond interest cost and achieving self-balancing project financing, it is also easy to pay debts. Responsibility for repayment is constantly being transferred to the next government, or it may breed excessive borrowing." Long Xiaoyan, an associate researcher at the Financial Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences, suggested that the issuance of long-term local government bonds at the grassroots level should be properly controlled, and the distribution of maturity debts should be comprehensively distributed by year. Design the term structure, optimize the payment method of principal and interest, and agree to set up an early redemption mechanism to allow local governments to repay principal and interest in advance.

  Preventing and resolving local debt risks, promoting the safe, standardized and efficient use of funds, and improving the standardized management of the whole process are the key links.

Wang Zecai said that on the one hand, it is necessary to strictly supervise, evaluate and evaluate the whole process of the realization of the performance objectives and performance indicators of the bond project funds before, during and after the event. damage.

At the same time, strengthen the supervision of the implementation progress of the bond project capital budget, further shorten the time limit for project declaration, bond issuance, and direct funds, and make every effort to ensure that the expected output and benefits of the project can be realized.

On the other hand, comprehensively carry out ex post performance evaluation of bond projects.

All localities should entrust third-party institutions and performance evaluators with performance evaluation capabilities to carry out performance evaluations covering all aspects of special bond projects.

For bond projects such as falsification, loss and waste, embezzlement and misappropriation, the system of lifelong accountability for the performance of major projects must be strictly implemented.

  "We must respect market liquidity and promote the precise connection between issuance progress and project progress." Long Xiaoyan believes that factors such as the project construction stage, bond demand, bond market interest rate trends, and bond issuance chain should be considered, and the issuance window should be reasonably grasped, neither blindly Pursue speed and single-issue issuance scale to avoid negative impact on the financial market and macro economy, and fully consider the maturity of the project to avoid the phenomenon that the project construction progress is slow and the funds cannot be spent after the bond issuance.