Aerial photo taken on June 21, 2018 shows morning view of the Lujiazui area in Pudong of Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua)
The leverage ratio of China's real economy last year registered its first drop since 2011, a report said.
The overall debt ratio of households, non-financial enterprises and governments declined to 243.7 percent in 2018, from 244 a year ago, according to the report of the Institute of Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The decrease followed a debt growth slowdown in 2017 and, although seemingly marginal, provides evidence that the country's debt-driven period has ended. From 2008 to 2016, the leverage ratio on average jumped by over 12 percent each year.
The report attributed the downturn to a falling corporate leverage ratio, which went down by 4.6 percentage points from a year ago to 153.6 percent.
A view of the Shekou Harbor is seen in the Qianhai and Shekou Area of China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Shenzhen City, south China's Guangdong Province, Feb. 26, 2015. (Xinhua)
Given rising challenges at home and abroad, China has intensified efforts to defuse major risks with debt control as a top priority. Rigorous measures were adopted to curb shadow banking and regulate local government debt.
With looming downward pressures, the report suggested authorities strike a balance between controlling leverage and stabilizing growth, by measures including increasing central government bonds and advancing structural reforms.