China central bank vows to step up reforms of finance sector

BEIJING Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:08pm GMT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's central bank pledged to quicken the pace of reforming and opening up the country's financial sector in 2013, while preventing systemic risks.

China will continue to implement prudent monetary policy next year and make its policies more flexible and pre-emptive, the People's Bank of China said in a statement published on its website on Thursday after a meeting to review instructions from this month's annual central economic work conference.

"We will further deepen financial sector reform and opening up to quicken the development of financial markets, improve foreign exchange management and enhance financial services and regulation," the central bank said.

The bank also asked lenders to channel more credit to rural areas and agriculture production and projects, the statement said.

It will also guide Chinese financial institutions to play a bigger role in accelerating the process of urbanization and reforming China's economic structure.

The policy setting conference said the country would maintain steady economic policies next year, leaving room to manoeuvre in the face of global risks while deepening reforms to support long-term growth.

China's central bank cut interest rates twice between June and July and lowered banks' reserve requirement ratio three times after late 2011, freeing an estimated 1.2 trillion yuan ($192.45 billion) for lending.

But it has refrained from cutting interest rates or reserve ratio further since July and has instead opted to inject short-term cash via open market operations into the money markets to avoid fanning inflation and property risks.

(Reporting by Aileen Wang and Lucy Hornby; editing by Jane Baird)

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