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China to restrain credit growth amid property restrictions

Updated: Oct 8,2016 5:21 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China will control its credit growth and take active measures to promote the healthy development of the housing market, a central bank statement said on Oct 8.

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, was quoted as saying that China’s credit expansion has slowed and growth will be controlled in the future along with a steady recovery in the global economy.

He made the remarks while co-chairing the Fourth G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting with Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei in Washington on Oct 6.

Lou Jiwei said China has trailed developed countries in deleveraging following the financial crisis while deploying massive stimulus plans, which have helped tackle the crisis but led to rising debt rates and overcapacity.

As China trims its overcapacity, moderate credit growth could act as a countercyclical tool, Zhou said.

The central bank said earlier that it intends to continue its prudent monetary policy and maintain a proper level of liquidity, while using various monetary policy tools flexibly to maintain reasonable growth of monetary credit and social financing.

Zhou also noted that the Chinese government is very concerned about the recent rise in home prices and will take active measures to regulate the market.

His remarks came amid tougher regulations in the housing markets of both first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shenzhen as well as smaller second- and third-tier cities.

Prices in 100 major Chinese cities rose 14.9 percent in the first nine months of 2016, with August and September seeing record month-on-month growth of more than 2 percent, according to the China Index Academy (CIA), a private property research institute.

As of Oct 6, a total of 19 Chinese cities had rolled out policies in the past week ranging from higher down payments and home purchase restrictions to curb speculative housing purchases.

Markus Rodlauer, deputy director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Asia Pacific Department, told Xinhua on Oct 7 that the rising prices are not sustainable and will fall back with regulators hitting the brakes.

Shrinking profits in the real economy and expectations of yuan devaluation have led to capital flooding the property market, CIA said.

China’s new yuan-denominated lending in August more than doubled from a month ago to 948.7 billion yuan (about $145.95 billion), with mortgages representing 55.7 percent of the 529 billion yuan in household loans, PBOC data showed.

Chang Yong Rhee, Director of IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, advised China to advance structural reform as China’s credit grows at twice the speed of the economy, mainly driven by demand from the property market rather than enterprises.

China is making headway in improving its economic structure and efficiency as it enters a “new normal” of medium-to-high-speed growth, Zhou said, adding that new growth momentum is growing as the fundamentals of the economy point to long-term sound performance.

The PBOC has said it will continue reforms to the financial system to encourage efficiency and better serve the real economy in line with the requirements of supply-side structural reform.

China’s economy grew 6.7 percent in the second quarter of the year, the lowest quarterly growth rate since the global financial crisis in early 2009, but still within the government’s target range of 6.5-7 percent for 2016

The Asian Development Bank has upgraded its forecast for China’s 2016 growth from 6.5 percent to 6.6 percent, and to 6.4 percent growth from 6.3 percent for 2017.

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