China's Outlook Downgraded by Fitch

 China's Outlook Downgraded by Fitch

Fitch's negative outlook on China's sovereign credit rating highlights growing concerns over the country's public finances amidst economic transformation. The agency's decision, mirroring similar moves by Moody's in December, underscores the challenges facing China as it navigates a shift towards new growth paradigms.

Fitch's revision signals heightened risks due to a confluence of slowing economic expansion and mounting debt, particularly in local government financing vehicles (LGFVs). Although Fitch maintains China's issuer default rating at 'A+', the negative outlook suggests a potential downgrade in the medium term.

China's general government deficit is projected to reach 7.1% of GDP by 2024, the highest since 2020, reflecting increased fiscal strain amid efforts to stimulate post-COVID recovery. Fitch's forecasted economic growth rate for 2024 is 4.5%, slightly lower than earlier estimates, pointing to lingering uncertainties despite recent positive economic indicators.

The rating agency's caution underscores the broader economic challenges facing China, even as recent data shows signs of stabilization. The government's emphasis on transitioning towards sustainable growth models, away from property-driven expansion, is seen as a critical factor influencing Fitch's outlook.

Despite these concerns, Chinese authorities are taking proactive measures to address fiscal risks, including a planned reduction in the budget deficit and issuance of special long-term treasury bonds. The government's pledge to manage debt prudently and support domestic demand underscores efforts to maintain fiscal stability amid evolving economic conditions.

Fitch's outlook revision serves as a reminder of the complex economic landscape in China, highlighting the imperative for continued vigilance in managing fiscal risks and supporting sustainable growth trajectories.

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