Stock slump highlights China's focus on de-risking
Market volatility highlights China's focus on de-risking: analysts
Published: Mar 10, 2021 09:41 PM
A file photo shows a pedestrian walks past the headquarters building of the People's Bank of China in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua)

A file photo shows a pedestrian walks past the headquarters building of the People's Bank of China in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua)

A senior official from China's central bank on Wednesday reiterated that the country will ensure "continuity and stability" in macro policies for 2021, in an apparent bid to calm worries over the potential normalization of monetary and fiscal support, given the nation's robust economic recovery and the priority given to de-risking.

"The macro financial policy will maintain continuity, stability and sustainability in 2021," Chen Yulu, a deputy governor of the People's Bank of China and member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, said on the sidelines of the ongoing two sessions.

Chen's remarks came after Chinese stocks slumped over the past several days, a rare development during the annual legislative and political consultative sessions, and as fresh data indicated a robust recovery in the Chinese economy in the first two months of the year.

Official data showed on Wednesday that in February, the Producer Price Index was up 1.7 percent year-on-year, the fastest pace in over two years. Analysts said this mainly reflects price surges for raw materials and accelerated factory activities.

Earlier, customs data showed that China's exports expanded 32.2 percent during the January-February period.

The comment also came as concerns grew that massive monetary and fiscal support could be rolled back as the focus shifts toward de-risking in the financial, housing and other areas. In the Government Work Report for 2021, China set a GDP growth target of above 6 percent, which, analysts said, is rather conservative compared with expectations.

"While monetary policy remains basically unchanged, there have already been shifts in some fiscal policies, as policymakers seek to leave some room to offer support for potential risks and challenges later this year," Tian Yun, a vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association and a former economist at the state economic planning agency, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Tian said that potential risks and challenges faced by some smaller banks - as well as small and micro-sized businesses that focus on the domestic market - would require sufficient fiscal support later in the year. 

Speaking to reporters, Chen said that policies of concern to many small and micro-sized firms, including delayed loan payments, would continue and more loans could be offered on the basis that financial risks are contained and prevented. 

Efforts to prevent and mitigate financial risks are high on the policy agenda this year, as officials repeatedly warn of asset bubbles in financial markets. Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, warned of a potential bursting of bubbles in Western financial assets and bubbles in the domestic housing and financial markets.

Such a focus on financial risks and other factors, including market corrections, contributed to a stock rout in China over the past several days, which, according to Bloomberg, has wiped out more than $1.3 trillion of market capitalization. 

"This slump has nothing to do with fundamentals but represents a shift by major funds in their holdings of blue-chip stocks," Dong Dengxin, director of the Financial Securities Institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times on Wednesday, noting that though the "short-term volatility" had huge impact on the market, it would not "change the country's overall macro policies and goals to combat financial risks."