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Financial conference resets course

Li Xiang
Updated: Jul 17,2017 7:46 AM     China Daily

Better coordination among regulators to guard against systemic financial risks and more policies improving the financial sector’s efficiency to serve the real economy can be expected after a top financial meeting of Chinese policymakers, analysts said on July 16.

In a speech at the two-day National Financial Work Conference, which ended on July 15 in Beijing, President Xi Jinping emphasized three key tasks of the financial sector: strengthening its ability to serve the economy, preventing systemic risks and deepening financial reform.

One accomplishment of the meeting is China will set up a committee under the State Council, China’s Cabinet, to oversee financial stability and development.

Analysts said this is an encouraging sign of efforts to fix the fragmented regulatory structure and to improve the cohesiveness of financial regulation.

“The central bank will play a bigger role of containing financial risks. Its coordination with the three regulators of banking, securities and insurance will also be strengthened,” said Li Shaojun, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities.

The financial meeting, held every five years, was considered a tone-setting gathering for China’s financial policies and reforms in the coming years.

Policymakers at the meeting also emphasized the need to develop the direct financing market to fund businesses and reduce the debt of State-owned enterprises.

Further development of China’s financial markets was encouraged to better serve the real economy, so more debt and equity offerings may be supported, predicted Hong Hao, chief strategist at BOCOM International.

China’s financial industry has grown rapidly in the past years, with its share in the country’s GDP reaching 8.4 percent in 2015, up from 4 percent in 2005, according to a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences study.

The financial industry’s expansion, coupled with credit easing to bolster growth, has led to rising systemic risks, capital speculation and a surge of shadow banking, existing sometimes in a regulatory void.

Shen Jianguang, chief economist of Mizuho Securities Asia, said several occurences that posed threats to China’s financial markets since 2015 have highlighted the necessity to improve the regulatory system.

“We expect more policies to deepen financial reforms will be rolled out in the next five years after the financial meeting,” Shen said.

Cheng Shi, chief economist at ICBC International, said the meeting’s results will help China achieve “stable and gradual breakthrough” in the financial reforms as the leadership has sought to lift the efficiency of financial regulation, maintain market order and stability, and to clarify the core function of the financial sector.