(MONEY.CNN) — China has a government debt problem — but even Beijing doesn’t know exactly what is lurking on the books of local and provincial governments.
In order to find out, the Chinese government has launched a review of all public debt, according to a one-sentence statement posted on a government website.
The audit, which will begin Aug. 1, is the third effort in as many years to “take the pulse” of China’s debt problem, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.
Analysts worry that China’s credit boom has saddled unworthy businesses with large loans, fueled the country’s shadow banking system and put local governments on the hook for trillions. Due to lax accounting and transparency standards, it’s difficult for outside analysts to estimate the size of the problem or quantify associated risks.