Monday, September 19, 2016

$450 Billion For China's Agricultural Modernization

The Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) agreed to bankroll the Ministry of Agriculture's five-year rural policy blitz by committing to provide no less than 3 trillion yuan ($450 billion) in loans for agricultural modernization during 2016-2020. The funds were committed in a "strategic agreement" signed with the Ministry of Agriculture September 18, 2016.

Few specifics were announced. The two parties agreed to deepen rural reform, push forward stronger policies that benefit farmers and agriculture, upgrade agriculture, raise the efficiency and sustainability of agricultural development, in order to effectively accelerate agricultural modernization. Priorities were as follows:

  • maintain national food security
  • construct high-standard fields
  • improve in agricultural structure
  • promote innovation in agricultural science and technology and modernize the seed industry 
  • foster new-type farm operators
  • push forward sustainable agricultural development
  • accelerate agricultural “going global” 
  • promote rural industry integration 
  • advance antipoverty projects 
  • advance reforms of the state farm "reclamation" system
The ADBC's lending has already been going through the roof. The bank has not released an annual report for 2015 (normally the report is released in April, so it is now five months late). 

A January 2016 article revealed numbers for ADBC's 2015 lending boom learned from "knowledgeable people." ADBC issued loans valued at 1.69 trillion yuan during 2015. Its outstanding balance of loans at the end of 2015 was 3.44 trillion yuan, up 21.5% from the previous year.

Traditionally, the biggest chunk of ADBC's lending was for procurement of grain, oils, and cotton for government reserves. That lending has ballooned as the government's floor price programs soared out of control. During 2015, ADBC lent 667.8 billion yuan ($100 billion) to finance procurement of 270 million metric tons of grain, representing a record 43% of grain financed by the government. The ADBC financed 2.36 million metric tons of cotton for government reserves, but that was half the volume financed in 2013 when the floor price for cotton was still in effect. Authorities have been selling their reserves at a loss--it is unclear who is paying for the losses and the interest on the loans. ADBC claimed to have a nonperforming loan rate of 0.81% at the end of 2015.

ADBC already ramped up lending by diversifying its lending to include various rural development initiatives during 2015: 
  • "Bridge loans" for State water projects totaled 35 billion yuan, 
  • medium-long-term loans for water projects totaled 150 billion yuan during 2015 according to "knowledgeable people." The water infrastructure loans more than tripled in value. 
  • "New-type urbanization"--which involves slum clearance and residential housing construction for rural-urban migrants--totaled 409.2 billion yuan, up 55%. 
  • Construction of rural roads 79.9 billion yuan, up 103%
  • A plan to move 5.18 million people out of 412 poor rural regions will eventually be supported by 270 billion yuan in 21-year loans (81 billion yuan was lent in 2015).


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