China's local governments ramped up bond issuance in the first quarter of this year to ensure enough funding for major projects and stabilize investment, official data showed Tuesday.
Local governments across the country have issued a total of 1.18 trillion yuan (176.1 billion U.S. dollars) of bonds in the January-March period, according to statistics from the Ministry of Finance (MOF).
In March alone, bond issuance of local governments totaled 624.5 billion yuan, higher from 364.2 billion yuan in February.
The bond issuance by local governments in the first three months came much earlier than those from past years while the financing costs went down remarkably, said Hao Lei, deputy head of the MOF's budget bureau, at a press conference.
In March, central authorities put a ceiling on the amount of newly added local government debt for the whole year of 2019 at 3.08 trillion yuan.
Over 60 percent of the funds were used to finance projects under construction, including shantytown renovation, railways, roads, poverty relief, rural vitalization and other infrastructure projects, according to Hao.
Chinese authorities have pledged to rigorously control risks in local government bonds and implicit debt while using bond issuance to finance infrastructure projects and improve weak areas.
Last year, local authorities raised a total of 4.17 trillion yuan via bond issuance, down from 4.36 trillion yuan in 2017, MOF data showed.