The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines the leverage, efficiency, and debt-repayment capacity of the Chinese enterprise sector using aggregate and firm level data. The cash coverage of interest expense, in particular, is used as a bridge between enterprise finances and banks' asset quality in order to develop insights on banking soundness. The interest coverage analysis corroborates the high level of nonperforming loans in the financial system. This underscores the urgency of hardening budget constraints on state-owned enterprises and stemming the flow of new bad loans by accelerating ongoing structural reforms.