Leverage in China has soared to alarming levels, with overall debt swelling to more than twice the size of the economy at the end of last year, a leading government-backed think tank said. The amount owed by governments, non-financial businesses and households climbed nearly 11 percentage points over the year to 228% of GDP, or RMB154tn the National Institution for Finance and Development said. The institution is among the first government-backed bodies to acknowledge the huge debt pile, and many economists say the total is still underestimated. The debt-to-GDP ratio in the US was 233% last year. According to 2015 third-quarter data from the Bank for International Settlements, emerging markets as a group had much lower levels of debt, at 175% of GDP, the South China Morning Post reports.