Restraining asset bubbles and preventing economic and financial risks are now top priorities for the People’s Bank of China, details from the latest Politburo meeting showed.
The most recent monthly summit of 25 senior Communist Party of China figureheads took place on October 28, just one day following the landmark Sixth Plenum, which officially appointed General Secretary Xi Jinping as the“core” of the Chinese political structure. The title was only previously reserved for the utmost Chinese commanders, namely Chairman Mao and Deng Xiaoping.
The Politburo sets out a fiscal policy to guarantee adequate government expenditures while boosting support for struggling regions and provinces, effectively giving the green light to the Ministry of Finance and local governments to keep propping up infrastructure-related spending.
“This signals that fiscal expenditure will focus on provinces facing shrinking revenue during recent years,” said Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at Industrial Bank to National Business Daily on Monday.
On the monetary front, while “prudent” remains the key policy prescription, the central bank is now responsible for keeping a closer watch over controlling asset bubbles and a prevention of economic and financial risks. At the same time, it was also being careful not to upset liquidity in the money market.
The reference to bubbles is widely understood to be the huge uptick seen in real estate prices across many popular cities this year.
The task of restraining asset bubbles was first mentioned in a review of the second quarter as part of the central bank’s job to cut financing costs. It was not mentioned during the review of the first quarter in April.
Every three months, the Politburo discusses economic matters as part of its quarterly review on the country’s latest development and sets forth monetary and fiscal policy directions for the months ahead.
The political gathering chaired by Xi, who is also China’s president, on October 28 saw steady achievements during the first three quarters of the year, but warned of a growing divide in performances across regions, sectors and companies, as well as a barrage of contradictions and problems within the economy.
The Politburo’s latest warning signals a shift in its assessment of the biggest risks facing the economy in the world’s most populous country.
It no longer is focusing on “persistent heavy downward pressure on the economy,” which was central to the Politburo meetings for the first and second quarters of this year.
That change indicates the leadership is now no longer worried about growth sliding out of the 6.5% to 7% target range, but is more concerned with the divergent pace of growth experienced by different provinces and cities.
The more popular top-tier and coastal cities, which have better job prospects, are continuing to fly high while the inner and underdeveloped provinces are lagging behind.