It's hard for China to get on top of its high local-government debt problem because it doesn't really know the full extent of debt levels, the president of China Beige Book International said on Wednesday.
China's state auditor said in late December that local governments had total outstanding debt of almost $3 trillion at the end of June last year. The results showed that debt incurred by local government was up 67 percent from the last audit in 2011.
Even with that assessment, it's not easy to assess the extent of debt levels, said Leland Miller, president of the China Beige Book (CBB), a survey on national, regional and sectoral economic conditions in the world's second biggest economy.
"I don't think they [the government] have any clue about how much debt is out there. I don't think there's any way to track this," he said, replying to a question on CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box" about whether Beijing was on top of the problem.
"The audit was meant to come out in September, it came out months later. I think the number is a wild guess… The biggest problem with understanding the Chinese economy is that there's not enough data that investors can see," he added.