December 11, 2017 / 4:01 AM / 7 months ago

China's pension funds struggling to cope with ageing population-state media

BEIJING, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Thirteen pension funds in regions and administrative units around China only have enough money to pay less than one year’s worth of pensions, media reported on Monday, as the country struggles with an ageing population and shortfalls in the nation’s pension schemes.

Guangxi, Jiangxi, Hainan, Inner Mongolia, Hubei, Shaanxi, Tianjin, Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin, Qinghai, Heilongjiang and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps can all pay less than one year’s worth of pensions to workers covered under the respective funds, the official Beijing News reported, citing China’s 2016 Social Security Development Annual Report.

Guangdong province, which had the largest sum of accumulated pensions, can pay 55.7 months worth of pensions, according to the newspaper.

The pension fund of China’s northeastern province of Heilongjiang is 23.2 billion yuan ($3.51 billion) in deficit, with almost 20 percent of the 267.4 billion yuan worth of funds transferred from the central government to Heilongjiang in 2016 spent on social security expenditures.

Total expenditures of China’s urban workers’ pension funds grew 23.4 percent on year to 3.19 trillion yuan while total incomes only grew 19.5 percent on year to 3.51 trillion yuan, the Beijing News said, citing the annual report.

At the end of 2016, China had more than 230 million people over the age of 60, deputy director of pension insurance at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security Jia Jiang said, according to the newspaper, adding that by 2050, the ratio of pensioners to workers will be 1:1.3.

China will begin a pilot programme this year to transfer shares in state-owned firms to social security funds. The plan is limited to a small number of central and provincial firms in an initial trial to start this year. ($1 = 6.6152 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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