China cuts bank reserve requirement to spur economy amid trade war
07 January, 2019, 06:30
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) has changed the definition of a small business, meaning an enterprise with a credit line of less than 10 million yuan (US$1.46 million) will qualify for targeted reserve-requirement ratio cuts, up from the previous standard of 5 million yuan. Separate reports out Friday noted revived trade talks were set to resume on Monday.
After four RRR cuts so far this year, the ratio for large banks dropped to 14.5pc in October, the lowest level since 2008.
Beijing will also step up "countercyclical adjustments" of macro policies and further cut taxes and fees, Mr Li said.
In addition to the central bank's numerous support measures, the government has also ramped up spending on infrastructure to rekindle sluggish demand and investment, but the moves will take some time to kick in.
"The old playbook of China's economy seems to be back", said Shao Yu, chief economist at Orient Securities in Shanghai.
The government maintains last year's economic growth will be on target at around 6.5 per cent, slowing from 6.9 per cent in 2017.
Before the announcement on Friday, the central bank had also already made a "targeted easing" to unleash up to 700 billion yuan of funds to some of the country's banks.
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"The move will offset liquidity fluctuations caused by cash injections before the Spring Festival this year, and will help financial institutions continue to strengthen support for small and micro businesses as well as private businesses", the central bank said.
After the visit, Li held a meeting at the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, calling for more policy support for the real economy, private firms, and small and micro-sized enterprises in particular.
Further cuts in the RRR had been widely expected this year, especially after a spate of weak data in recent months showed the economy was continuing to lose steam amid increased signs of a pinch from the trade war with the United States.
The People's Bank of China has chose to ease the reserve requirement ratio criteria for small and micro-sized enterprises, in hopes of boosting lending to these companies, The Economic Observer reported.
China's manufacturing purchasing managers index fell into the contraction territory last month, the weakest since early 2016.
Analysts at JPMorgan Chase said that the central bank's action suggests that "the Chinese government is tilting toward a growth-oriented stance".
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