January 16, 2018, 11:06 pm
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Chinese growth prospects up

BEIJING - Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said growth prospects have improved in the world’s second-largest economy, but its monetary policy remains prudent and neutral.

Earlier this week, China published upbeat data showing its economy got off to a strong start to 2017, supported by bank lending, a government infrastructure spree and a long-sought resurgence in private investment. 

“China’s economic growth rate is stable overall, with growth prospects improving,” Zhou said, according to a post on the People’s Bank of China’s website on Saturday.

“China will continue to implement active fiscal policy, and prudent and neutral monetary policy.”

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) raised short-term interest rates for the third time in as many months, in what economists saw as a bid to curb capital outflows and keep the yuan currency stable after the Federal Reserve raised U.S. interest rates this week.

The PBOC has said specifically that Thursday’s action should not be seen as full-blown policy tightening like the Fed’s. The Chinese central bank has left its benchmark lending rate unchanged since an October 2015 cut.

The government has promised to contain debt and property market risks in 2017 following years of credit-fuelled expansion.

Data on Saturday showed China’s red-hot property market picked up pace in February after price gains had slowed in the previous four months.

Efforts will be made to contain debt levels, including restructuring of firms with heavy debt burdens, alongside a push to reduce excess industrial capacity, Zhou said in Beijing last week.  - Reuters
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