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China’s central bank announces policy easing as it seeks to boost growth

China has unveiled plans to stimulate its economy by implementing a reduction in the reserve requirements for banks. The announcement, made by People’s Bank of China (PBOC) governor Pan Gongsheng in Beijing, outlined a 50 basis points cut in reserve ratio requirements from February 5, injecting 1 trillion yuan ($139.8 billion) in long-term capital. This marks the first such reduction in 2023, following two cuts in the previous year. The PBOC also hinted at potential additional monetary policy easing in the future.

The move to lower reserve requirements is intended to amplify the lending capacity of banks, encouraging increased loans and spending throughout the broader economy. Recent economic data for China indicated a 5.2% growth in 2023, broadly aligning with official projections. However, the fourth-quarter GDP fell just short of the median estimates put forth by economists.

China’s post-Covid recovery has encountered challenges, prompting leaders to emphasize the anticipated difficulties in the recovery process. Beijing is adopting a targeted approach to fuel growth while managing the deleveraging of its formerly overgrown real estate sector. Notably, some of China’s largest real estate developers are grappling with severe debt problems, elevating financial risks and impacting consumer confidence.

In response to a recent downturn in both onshore and offshore stock markets, China declared its commitment on Monday to “strengthen the market’s inherent stability.” These measures form part of a comprehensive strategy to address economic uncertainties and ensure stability in China’s financial markets.

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