The war on financial risks will continue this year in China, with renewed efforts to crack down on shadow banking activities and further rectification of financial irregularities, said the head of the nation’s banking regulator.
“We need to focus on lowering corporate debt ratios, restricting household debt, strictly standardizing cross-sector financial products, and continuing to dismantle shadow banking activities,” said Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, in a recent interview with the People’s Daily.
With the CBRC getting tougher on regulation and risk control, commercial banks recorded a slowdown in their interbank and wealth management businesses.
“At the end of 2017, both interbank assets and liabilities dropped for the first time since 2010. Interbank wealth management fell by 3.4 trillion yuan ($528 billion) since the beginning of last year,” Guo said in the interview.
“Currently, the overall risk of the country’s financial system is controllable, but the financial sector is still in a risk-prone period due to multiple factors and is still facing a tough situation,” he said.
The CBRC will keep cracking down on regulatory violations in the areas of interbank, wealth management and off-balance-sheet businesses, to further control the risks of shadow banking and cross-sector financial products, said the banking regulator on Jan 13.
“For some banks, toughening regulation is good news. It will restrict disorderly competition among banks in many business areas,” said Zeng Gang, director of banking research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Finance and Banking.
During the last two months, the four largest State-owned commercial banks have seen a noticeable rise in their stock prices. On Jan 17, the share price of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation’s largest commercial lender, went up by 1.97 percent to 6.72 yuan.
A message from the central bank contributed to large banks’ share price rises, Zeng said. The central bank said on its official microblog that a previous plan to cut the reserve requirement ratio for banks that meet requirements, specifically for lending to small businesses and the agricultural sector, will be fully implemented on Jan 25.