Business Maverick

Business Maverick

China central bank meets with private firms, pledges funding

China central bank meets with private firms, pledges funding
People's Liberation Army soldiers stand in front of the People's Bank of China (PBOC) in Beijing, China, on Monday, 13 December 2021.

The People’s Bank of China met with lenders and private businesses on Wednesday, pledging to improve their access to funding in an effort to boost economic growth. 

Governor Pan Gongsheng called on financial companies to better support private firms and promised to increase financial resources to them, according to a statement from the central bank on Thursday. 

State media reported on the meeting on Wednesday, saying central bank leaders and officials from other financial watchdogs met with representatives from more than 10 banks as well as private companies, including property developers and manufacturers. The PBOC is drafting policies to give private firms better access to funding, the media reports said. 

Beijing is trying to revive confidence in the world’s second-largest economy as latest signs show further weakening in the property market, deflation pressure, a slump in exports and subdued consumer spending. Officials have pledged to improve the business environment and encourage private firms to invest more.  

Even so, the measures announced so far have been targeted toward specific sectors, like property finance and the stock market, and have fallen short of the monetary and fiscal stimulus unleashed during previous downturns. 

The latest steps by the PBOC are more “piecemeal” measures, said Tommy Xie, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Co. “A significant hurdle for the Chinese economy this year has been the inability of the reopening to instill renewed confidence in the private sector,” he said.

Wednesday’s meeting was the second time this month that the PBOC has held talks with private companies and banks as it follows up on a pledge by the Communist Party and the government last month to improve the business environment. 

Pressure on banks

The state-run Securities Times quoted Ma Jianyang, a deputy head of the PBOC’s financial market department, as saying authorities will make it a “clear goal” as they draft the policies that the share of loans to private firms in total lending should continue to rise. 

Financial institutions will be required to set annual goals for serving private companies, which will carry more weight in the review of their performance, Ma said, according to the newspaper. 

Among the regulators at the meeting were the National Administration of Financial Regulation, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, according to the PBOC statement.

Pan said at the meeting that authorities will ensure private firms have smooth access to funding via sales of bonds, equities and loans, according to the PBOC statement.

Labeling it a political task, he urged financial institutions to “provide high-quality financial support for private firms, continue increasing the supply of financial resources, and treat enterprises of all types of ownership in a fair and just manner”. 

A program to support the sector’s bond financing will be expanded and institutional investors will be encouraged and guided to buy more debt sold by private companies, he said. 

Wang Jianjun, a vice CSRC chairman, also said at the meeting that it is a “major political responsibility” for the watchdog to carry out the party and government’s plans for boosting the private economy, according to the statement.

The CSRC will support qualified private firms to go public and carry out equity refinancing, and optimize a review and approving mechanism for acquisition and restructuring. Brokerages will be encouraged to participate in private firm equity financing support programs and expand companies’ funding access through private equity plans, he said. Equity and bond financing tools will be used to help privately-owned developers resolve risks, he added.

Executives from companies including vehicle parts manufacturer Wencan Group Co., cable producer Hengtong Group Co., and wind energy equipment manufacturer Titan Wind Energy (Suzhou) Co. spoke at the meeting, the PBOC statement showed.

Representatives from property developers such as Longfor Group Holdings Ltd, Seazen Holdings, New Hope Group, and space product manufacturer Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Co. also attended the meeting, according to a Wednesday report by Chinese media outlet Yicai. 

Banks present included Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Merchants Bank Co., and Postal Savings Bank of China Co., the newspaper added.

The PBOC has completed the drafting of the policy and will publish it after consulting further with relevant departments, Yicai said. DM

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