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Under a pilot scheme, the first group of six provinces and cities sold 6.8 billion yuan in bonds
at commercial bank counters to individual buyers between March 22 and early April.
The coupon rates are between 3.01 percent and 3.33 percent, higher than treasury b
onds issued by the central government as well as bank deposits with the same maturity.
Gross local bond issuances hit 1.18 trillion yuan in the first qua
rter, compared with only 219.5 billion yuan in the same period last year.
The total quota for 2019 local government bond issuances is 3.08 trillion yuan, according to the Ministry of Finance.
“About 60 percent of the bonds were issued for ongoing construction, especially
for shantytown renovation projects, railways and roads,” said Hao Lei, head of the ministry’s Budget Department.
While debt financing continues to grow, the government is experiencing sharp declin
es in fiscal revenue growth, especially from tax and land sales, official data showed.
China’s customs officers have seized 2,748 ivory tusks weighing a combined 7.48 metric tons after cracking a major smuggling case.
It was the biggest haul of tusks ever recorded in an anti-smuggling bust conducted in
dependently by customs officers, the General Administration of Customs said on Monday.
The case was solved in March after a combined operation of differ
ent customs offices lasting three months. A total of 238 custo
ms officers took part from cities around the country, including Hefei, Nanjing, Beijing, Fuzhou and Qingdao.
Twenty suspects were detained for further investigation, accor
ding to Sun Zhijie, director of the administration’s anti-smuggling bureau.
Sun said the tusks, illegally shipped from African countries, were imported into China labeled as wood.
by the smugglers, Sun said. Busts were made in several locations, which were not disclosed. The case is still under investigation.
Since early this year, 182 smuggling cases involving endangered species have been investigated, the administration said on Monday.
More than 500 tons of endangered animals and animal products were seized, 8.48 t
ons of which was ivory tusks or products made of ivory. In those cases, 171 suspects were detained.
The Chinese government suspended imports of ivory and all ivor
y products in 2015 and ended commercial processing and sale of ivory at the end of 2017.
The ban has had significant positive effects, with fewer people purchasing ivory, according to a report j
ointly released last year by the World Wildlife Fund and TRAFFIC, an NGO that tracks the global trade in wild animals.
“We will strengthen our anti-smuggling efforts, continuing to work with international organizations and depart
ments and allowing no tolerance of those illegal activities,” said Hu Wei, deputy director of the administration.