The targeted required reserve ratio (RRR) announced by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), China’s central bank, last Friday was aimed at boosting the real economy and lowering the financing costs for companies in some specific sectors.
The targeted RRR cuts, effective from Monday, would release a total of 550 billion yuan (US$78.5 billion) of long-term funds into the banking sector, Xinhua reported, citing an unnamed official in PBoC.
It is believed that the targeted RRR cuts will help reduce the borrowing costs for small and micro firms and other private companies, which can save up to 8.5 billion yuan of interest rate expenses. PBoC will attach greater importance to facilitating the recovery of the real economy.
Announced last Friday, the PBoC lowered the RRR by 0.5 to 1 percentage points, which came into force on Monday, in addition to an additional 1 percentage point for eligible joint-stock commercial banks.
On January 31, the PBoC set up a 300 billion yuan refinancing fund for suppliers of masks and protective equipment. As of March 13, it released a total of 184 billion yuan to the companies, which produced 1.6 billion masks, 87.79 million protective clothing items, 4.21 million goggles and 10.29 million units of virus testing kits.
China has passed its peak of virus infections but it is facing another huge challenge from Europe, which has seen a rising number of cases recently, Zhang Wenhong, head of the center of infectious diseases, Huashan Hospital of Fudan Univerisity, said in a message on Weibo. China is facing a rising risk caused by the imported cases, Zhang said, adding that it is unlikely the global epidemic will end in the summer.
Fixed asset investments
Between January and February, China’s fixed-asset investment (excluding agricultural investment) totaled 3.33 trillion yuan ($476 billion), down 24.5% from the same period last year. Private fixed-asset investment fell 26.4% to 1.89 trillion yuan for the period.
In February, China’s fixed asset investment (excluding agricultural investment) dropped 27.38% from January.
Visitors to Hong Kong
On Monday, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) announced that the number of visitors to Hong Kong in February fell to 199,000, a year-on-year decrease of 96%. The figure reached only half of the level on the worst month when Hong Kong was hit by the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2003.
On February 8, Hong Kong implemented a mandatory 14-quarantine measure on incoming travelers from China after it required all travelers to use the international airport, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and Shenzhen Bay Port only.
HKTB expects the number of incoming visitors to further decrease this month.
A total of 116 A-share listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen have released their 2019 annual reports, and another 1,765 companies have disclosed their 2019 performance results.
The total net profit of all these 1,881 companies rose more than 20% year-on-year in 2019. In addition, 55 companies estimated their first-quarter results, and 70% of them expect to record profit growth.
Due to the so-called “stay-at-home economy” and new infrastructure projects, many companies saw a sharp increase in their first-quarter results. The situation was better than expected.
According to Tianyancha.com, Richard Liu Qiangdong, chairman of JD.com Group, recently stepped down as general manager of the Group’s 18 units, 16 of which are logistics companies. Since 2020, Liu Qiangdong has stepped down from 29 firms.
On March 13, Li Ning (China) Sporting Goods Co Ltd announced it was expanding its business scope to sales of medical devices of Class I and Class II, football, volleyball and tennis training and psychological counseling. Between January 1 and February 27, more than 10,000 Chinese companies expanded their business scopes to sales of masks, protective clothing, disinfectants, medical devices and thermometers.
The story was written by Huang Wanyi and Xu Jiangshan and first published at ATimesCN.com.