China able to keep its financial markets stable, Premier Li says

FILE PHOTO: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during a media conference with New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English in Wellington, New Zealand, March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Anthony Phelps

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that China is capable of maintaining stability in its financial markets.

China will also strike a balance between financial stability, gradual deleveraging and steady economic growth, Li said during a meeting with International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

Prudent monetary policy will be maintained and the yuan currency will be kept basically stable, Li said in a statement issued by the foreign ministry.

China’s top leadership has identified the containment of financial risks and asset bubbles as a top priority this year. At the same time, authorities have moved cautiously to avoid actions that would hurt economic growth, gingerly raising short-term interest rates.

Credit growth in China has been very fast by global standards, and without a comprehensive strategy to tackle the overhang there is growing risk of a banking crisis or sharply slower growth, or both, the IMF warned late last year.

In her meeting with Li on Sunday, Lagarde said the pace of China’s economic growth is encouraging and provides support for international economic cooperation and multilateral trading systems.

The IMF is also pleased to see that China’s financial system is solid and effectively managed, she said.

Reporting by Kevin Yao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Mark Heinrich and David Goodman