March 15, 2020 / 12:44 PM / 3 months ago

China to support trade finance, consumer credit to boost economy - banking regulator

FILE PHOTO: Headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, is pictured in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will encourage banks to offer more trade finance and also issue more consumer credit, said an official with the banking regulator on Sunday, in a bid to help the world’s No. 2 economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Foreign trade is facing “relatively large difficulties”, Ye Yuanfei, policy research official at the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) told a press briefing on Sunday, with the epidemic yet to be contained around the world.

The regulator will encourage banks step up the financing of trade to help stabilise the situation, he said.

Ye also called for banks to use consumer credit to support consumption, which has taken a huge hit following efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

China’s central bank has already issued 184 billion yuan (21.42 billion pounds) in cheap relending quota as of March 13 to support firms including those making equipment needed to control the coronavirus epidemic.

Sun Guofeng, head of the monetary policy department at the People’s Bank of China, told the same briefing that local banks had issued another 107.5 billion yuan in loans at favourable rates to small firms and agricultural companies.

The bank will continue to use multiple measures to lead to significantly reduced loan interest rates, he added.

Reporting by Roxanne Liu, Leng Cheng and Dominique Patton; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Kirsten Donovan

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