Four more local gov'ts get bond-issuance autonomy

BEIJING, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Four more Chinese local governments have been given autonomy to issue bonds directly as part of a pilot program, bringing the total number to ten.

The new local governments are Beijing, Jiangxi, Ningxia and Qingdao, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Wednesday.

Initiated in October 2011, local governments of Shanghai, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Shenzhen launched the pilot. Authorities of Jiangsu and Shandong provinces joined the pilot last year.

Local governments used to be banned from selling bonds directly. The MOF would float bonds on behalf of local governments each year.

A lack of direct financing channels has forced local governments to set up thousands of companies, known as financing vehicles, to raise money for infrastructure projects. However, the companies have come under fire for being poorly supervised and managed, as well as building up default risks.

The MOF on Wednesday also announced rules the ten local governments must follow covering independent bond issuance and repayment.

The governments shall float bonds within the annual quotas permitted by the State Council, China's cabinet. Unused quotas will expire at the end of this year, according to MOF rules.