China not facing same pressure as Fed to shrink balance sheet: PBOC adviser

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s central bank will not take action to shrink its balance sheet like the U.S. Federal Reserve as it does not face the same pressures due to its use of different policy tools, an adviser to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: 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

The Fed is looking to start reducing its massive $4.2 trillion portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities beginning later this year. Most of the assets were purchased in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession.

However, the PBOC’s assets are mainly foreign exchange-based, Sheng Songcheng, former director-general of statistics and research at the central bank, wrote in the Shanghai Securities News.

“The balance sheet structures of China and the United States’ are very different,” he wrote in the newspaper.

“The PBOC does not have the huge portfolio of securities assets that need to be dealt with and foreign exchange accounts are impacted by capital flows, which can be hedged by adjusted other subjects,” he said.

The PBOC also held a neutral monetary policy, he added, while the Fed is aiming to gradually normalize ultra-loose conditions.

Sheng also said that while the Fed’s balance sheet expanded rapidly during the financial crisis, from less than $900 billion before 2007 to $4.5 trillion in 2014, the PBOC’s balance sheet less than doubled in size during that period.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates last week for the second time in three months and said it would begin cutting its holdings of bonds and other securities this year in a bid to shrink its balance sheet.

While the PBOC’s policy stance has also been seen as super loose since the financial crisis, China’s economic stimulus has been more direct - largely coming in the form of credit extended by big state-controlled banks and increased government spending on items like big infrastructure projects.

Aggregate financing in China, which includes bank loans as well as off-balance sheet lending, surged in March and was a record in the first quarter.

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim Coghill