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CHINA

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Austerity Measures Persist: Though it was squeezed last year between dwindling foreign-exchange reserves and burgeoning debt, China appears to have avoided a potential debt-repayment crisis, according to Hong-Kong based analysts. China’s debt problems became acute in 1989. Since then, China has boosted exports and maintained tight import curbs. However, Chinese officials are maintaining many austerity measures. Chinese Finance Minister Wang Bingqian has been criticizing the spending practices of some government agencies, warning that subsidies on food and other items may be decreased if belt-tightening measures fail. Western diplomats note that Wang said as early as last March that fiscal irresponsibility threatened political stability, but those warnings had little effect. China expects to end 1991 with a budget deficit of $2.3 billion, compared to a 1990 shortfall of $2.8 billion.


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