Since [the 2008 crisis], China's massive money supply, urbanisation and a mortgage loan boom have resulted in a hefty rise in household debt, which is now equivalent to 44.4 per cent of national gross domestic product, triple the level in 2008, according to the Bank for International Settlements.


Although China's household debt level is still low compared to the 79.5 per cent of GDP in the US and 62.5 per cent in Japan, it has risen too steeply to be safe, according to a research report by the Institute for Advanced Research at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics which was published last month and led by former central bank statistics chief Sheng Songcheng.


"The speed of China's household debt accumulation ... has exceeded that of US household debt accumulation before the subprime crisis," it said, warning that the rapid growth would squeeze consumer spending and might lead to dangerous scenarios.

"As early as in 2020, the ratio of mortgage payments and disposable incomes in China will match the peak level in the US before the financial crisis," it concluded, adding that the rising debt burden would "restrict China's economic growth to some extent".

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