China banking and insurance regulator voices support for more lending

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s banking and insurance regulator said it will facilitate the transmission of monetary policy by supporting more lending by financial institutions.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said in a statement posted on its website that it would guide financial institutions to expand financing, including to qualified private companies and small businesses. It would encourage them to balance the promotion of economic growth with controlling risks.

The move comes amid a period of greater uncertainty for the Chinese economy, in part because of an intensifying trade conflict between China and the United States.

The regulator took special note of loans for infrastructure projects. In July, preliminary statistics indicated that new infrastructure loans were 172.4 billion yuan, an increase of 46.9 billion yuan over the month before, it said.

The statement follows comments by China’s central bank on Friday that it would maintain a neutral and prudent monetary policy and enhance flexibility in yuan exchange rate levels. It would take measures to fend off systemic financial risks and maintain ample liquidity in the banking system, it said.

“Trade frictions, geopolitics and the normalization of monetary policies in major economies have increased uncertainties in global economic and financial markets,” the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said.

Reporting by Alexandra Harney; Editing by Mark Potter