China regulators free up extra USD 100B for bank lending

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Beijing:  Chinese regulators have freed up an extra USD 100 billion for bank lending in a move financial analysts said could help to reassure investors amid trade tensions with Washington.

The reduction yesterday in reserves banks are required to hold was part of a series of such cuts economists had forecast before the dispute with President Donald Trump erupted. But they said the announcement could help to defuse fears a threatened US tariff hike might dampen Chinese economic growth.

The central bank said the cut, the third this year following reductions in January and April, was intended to help state companies restructure debts.

“Against the tensions, China’s latest reserve ratio reduction, while expected, serves as a counterbalance to the soft sentiment,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.

The amount of money banks must keep on reserve with the central bank will be reduced by 0.5 percentage points of their deposits, according to the People’s Bank of China. It said that would release about 700 billion yuan.

The central bank said 200 billion yuan (USD 30 billion) of that is earmarked for lending to small businesses, with the rest going to debt restructuring.

Washington is due to impose an additional 25 percent tariff on USD 34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6 in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

Beijing has vowed to retaliate. Trump has threatened additional tariffs, raising to USD 450 billion the total of Chinese products that could be covered by the measures, or nearly 90 per cent of China’s exports to the United States.

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