China central bank to keep liquidity ample, curb asset bubbles

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s central bank said on Tuesday that it will maintain ample liquidity in the country’s financial system while taking steps to prevent asset bubbles in an increasingly leveraged economy.

People walk past the headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, as two paramilitary police officials patrol around it in Beijing November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

In its third-quarter monetary policy implementation report, the People’s Bank of China said it will maintain a prudent monetary policy, fine-tuning in a preemptive and timely way and using multiple monetary policy tools flexibly to keep money markets stable.

“While creating neutral and appropriate monetary and financial environments for structural reforms and keeping liquidity reasonably ample, we should pay attention to curbing asset bubbles and preventing economic and financial risk.

“The balance between stabilizing growth and preventing bubbles has become more challenging,” the central bank said.

China has reported steady 6.7 percent economic growth for the last three quarters, and looks set to hit Beijing’s full-year target of 6.5 to 7 percent, fueled by strong infrastructure spending, record bank lending and a red-hot property market.

Beijing has depended on a surging real estate market and government stimulus to drive growth this year, even as it has stepped carefully to avoid repeating the huge stimulus package implemented during the global financial crisis, which saddled the economy with a pile of debt.

Chinese companies are still sitting on $18 trillion in debt, equivalent to about 169 percent of gross domestic product, according to Bank for International Settlements figures.

The central bank on Tuesday conceded that the overall leverage in the economy was still climbing and that financial risks were growing.

Last month, President Xi Jinping said China would maintain its proactive fiscal policy, stick to the current prudent monetary policy while focusing on controlling asset bubbles and preventing economic and financial risk.

Also on Tuesday, a joint working meeting of China’s top planning body, the cabinet and the Communist Party Central Committee called for resolutely implementing central decisions on supply side reform with Xi as core leader.

The meeting reaffirmed the commitment to meeting this year’s targets, particularly for cutting industrial overcapacity, deleveraging and reducing costs, according to a statement posted on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website.

Reporting by China monitoring desk, Jake Spring and Kevin Yao; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Nick Macfie and Catherine Evans