日期:2016-03-07 11:35


HONG KONG —China said on Monday evening that it would free up banks in the country to lend more, as the government attempts to shore up slowing economic growth.


The move comes as the country’s top financial policy makersattempt to reassure the rest of the world that their management of the economy remains on track, and that they still have many tools at their disposal to avoid an even sharper slowdown in growth.China is also grappling with persistent capital outflows amid expectations that the currency, the renminbi, could weaken further.


The measure announced on Monday comes just days before the country’s top leaders convene in Beijing for the so-called two meetings, the annual gatherings of the full membership of the national legislature and a sprawling committee of political advisers.


Effective Tuesday, China’s central bank said, the amount of cash that commercial banks are required to set aside as reserves will bereduced. Lowering the reserve requirement ratio essentially gives the state-controlled banking system more money to lend.


The move is the latest example of the fine line that China’s policy makers are attempting to walk as they look to bolster the economy, the world’s second-largest, after the United States. A major lending binge in recent years has left China with too many steel and cement factories and saddled many state-owned companies with too much debt. At the same time, China’s leaders are trying to channel lending to areas long underserved by state-owned banks, such as small and midsize businesses, that the leaders see as essential to nurturing growth.


This is the fifth time that the central bank, the People’s Bank of China, has cut the reserve ratio since the start of last year. Themove on Monday could release around 630 billion renminbi, or about $96 billion, in additional liquidity to China’s banking system, according to estimates from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.


For the biggest banks, the ratio of total deposits that must be kept in reserve was reduced to 17 percent, from 17.5 percent. In recent months, Beijing has lowered interest rates and made other moves to rekindle growth. In a sign that some of those policies may be having an impact, China reported a record surge in credit growth for January.


By lowering the reserve requirement ratio, or R.R.R., by half a percentage point, the central bank is partly seeking to offset its own actions in support of the currency. The central bank has been selling dollars and buying renminbi to prop up the value of the renminbi, which has been under pressure.


But that has siphoned liquidity out of the system. In response, the central bank has been injecting billions of renminbi into the country’s financial system. The R.R.R. cut serves the same purpose, essentially representing a lending quota.


In a news release on Monday, China’s central bank said the reduction was intended “to maintain adequate and reasonable liquidity in the financial system and guide the steady moderate growth of money and credit.”


In recent months, the People’s Bank of China has slowly been switching its focus away from changing reserve requirements. Instead, it has been putting greater emphasis on interest rates as a way to control liquidity — specifically encouraging credit in the bank-to-bank lending market — an approach that is generally regarded as more market-oriented.


Still, the pressure on the renminbi to weaken remains such that the central bank will probably need to dig deeper into its monetary policy toolbox. Economists expect multiple reductions this year both to benchmark interest rates and to reserve ratios.


“Over the past couple of years, the number of policy tools available to the People’s Bank of China has proliferated,” Mark Williams, the chief China economist at Capital Economics, wrote Monday evening in a research note.

“在过去的几年中,中国人民银行可用的政策工具的数量大增,”凯投宏观(Capital Economics)首席中国经济学家马克·威廉姆斯(Mark Williams)周一晚在一份研究简报中写道。

Although the central bank has been moving toward more market-driven interest rates, traditional measures like the R.R.R. cut still create across-the-board stimulus, Mr. Williams added.


“The move underscores a message that officials have repeated in recent days, including at the G-20 meeting: Policy makers still have room to support the economy,” he said.


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