April 11, 2014 / 4:35 AM / 6 years ago

China central bank: credit growth steady but watching debt risks

BOAO, China (Reuters) - China’s central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, said on Friday that although credit growth was stable, the central bank remained vigilant against the risks from corporate indebtedness.

China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan gestures as he speaks at a news conference as part of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, March 11, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

“We must not lower our guard against the risk of high leverage in the corporate sector,” he said at the Boao investment forum in southern China.

Zhou elaborated on the factors that influenced the central bank when it formulates monetary policy, saying that inflation remained its focus for now.

“Inflation, GDP growth, new jobs and the international balance of payments are the goals we consider when formulating monetary policy,” he told a panel at the forum, speaking in English.

“All the factors will be dynamically adjusted based on changing conditions, and it is difficult to say how to compile the weightings,” he said, adding that ordinarily the inflation target had the highest weighting.

The comments came after China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, told the Boao forum that sustaining healthy growth in China’s labor market was the government’s priority, and it did not matter if growth came in a little below the official target of 7.5 percent.

Zhou appeared to support that sentiment, noting: “There is the possibility of a bigger adjustment to monetary policy if growth fully deviates from the target”.

Zhou noted that China’s central bank needs to be a part of the government for the country to fulfill its plans for reform, and there were sound reasons it was not fully independent, unlike central banks in other major economies.

“If the central bank is not a part of the government, it is not efficient in coordinating policies to push forward reforms,” he said.

“Our choice has its own rational reasons behind it. But this choice also has its costs. For example, whether we can efficiently cope with asset bubbles and inflation is questionable.”

Reporting by Aileen Wang in Boao and Kevin Yao in Beijing

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