China Merchants Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China led a near-record rally in the HSCEI, both rising by 8%. The rally responded to a People’s Bank of China announcement Saturday that it would cut reserve requirements for lending to small business, agricultural production, entrepreneurship and education, starting in 2018.
Overall, the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index rose by 3.62%, one of its best days in years. China International Capital Corp says that the measures may add as much as 1 trillion yuan ($150 billion) of new lending. The real beneficiary? China’s stock market.
Bloomberg columnist Shuli Ren dismisses the action as “show.” Ren writes, “In two weeks, Beijing will host the all-important 19th Party Congress, during which President Xi will announce his new cabinet for the next five years. The central bank wants to let ordinary Chinese know they’re included in the recent economic rebound too.”
Asia Unhedged is somewhat more sanguine: Xi Jinping’s economic strategy centers on entrepreneurship, supported by e-commerce and e-finance platforms operated by Alibaba, Tencent and other Chinese tech giants.