China continues to strengthen financial sector's role in serving real economy

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 5, 2024
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Headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, is pictured in Beijing. [Photo/VCG]

China is continuing to make concrete efforts to deepen the financial sector's role in serving the real economy as the fundamental goal of high-quality financial development, experts and insiders observed.

"Since last year, financial institutions have continued to strengthen the allocation of resources in key areas and weak links such as scientific and technological innovation, infrastructure, private small and micro enterprises, and green development, and have shown obvious characteristics of serving high-quality development," said Dong Ximiao, chief researcher at Merchants Union Consumer Finance Company Limited.

Chinese political advisors have also called for efforts to continuously improve the capacity, quality and efficiency of the financial sector, and promote the sector's high-level opening up to provide support for the building of a nation with a strong financial sector.

These are the latest developments echoing the commitments made at a central financial work conference held in Beijing at the end of October last year. The conference noted that more financial resources should be leveraged to support scientific and technological innovations, advanced manufacturing, green development, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as innovation-driven development strategies and coordinated regional development strategies.

As these policies took effect, many enterprises got energized. At the beginning of this new year, Yan Bing, customer manager of China Everbright Bank Nanjing Branch, has visited a dozen enterprises without stopping and issued loans of nearly 200 million yuan (about $28.15 million).

Yan, in particular, issued a loan of 10 million yuan to Yangzhou Daika Wheel Manufacturing Co., LTD., making it the Nanjing branch's first enterprise loan issued this year for small and medium-sized enterprises that specialize in a niche market, meeting the financing needs of the enterprise's business expansion.

"Last year, China Everbright Bank selected 'science and technology finance' as one of the three new business development tracks," said Yan, introducing characteristic products to optimize the credit model, improve the approval efficiency, and strengthen its service to scientific and technological enterprise customers.

Other banks and financial institutions are also vying for opportunities emerging in serving the real economy. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), for instance, has chosen to issue loans of 900 million yuan for the first phase of construction of the Jinqimen nuclear power project in east China's Zhejiang Province, which was approved by the State Council on Dec. 29, 2023.

Li Duo, head of the ICBC's credit and investment management department, said that the ICBC strongly supports sectors including clean energy, green transportation, energy conservation and environmental protection; adopts differentiated policies in terms of assessment, authorization and pricing; and strives to channel financial resources to green and ecological industries.

Green finance is gradually becoming an important avenue for supporting the real economy, data showed. Currently, the balance of green loans of the ICBC has exceeded 5 trillion yuan. At the end of 2023, the scale of green loans of China Everbright Bank increased by 114.47 billion yuan or 57.44% compared with the end of the previous year.

"The growth rates of green loans, inclusive loans to small enterprises, loans to technology-based small businesses, and medium and long-term loans to the manufacturing sector were much higher than the average growth rate of all lending in 2023," the People's Bank of China (PBOC) Governor Pan Gongsheng was quoted as saying by an earlier report.

The PBOC, the nation's central bank, had announced earlier this year that it will establish a credit market department to support the "five priorities" of technology finance, green finance, inclusive finance, pension finance and digital finance.

Pan said the bank will further leverage the dual functions of monetary policy tools in terms of quantity and structure, and strengthen tool innovation to encourage financial institutions to focus on the five priorities.

In 2023, China's outstanding yuan-denominated loans issued to the real economy surged 10.4% to 235.48 trillion yuan, accounting for 62.3% of the total outstanding social financing of 378.09 trillion yuan. The proportion increased by 0.5 percentage points from the previous year, said the PBOC.

"In 2024, we will focus on building a standardized, transparent, open, dynamic and resilient financial market, further optimize the financing structure, market system and product system, and provide better and more efficient financing services for the development of the real economy," said the central bank governor. 

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