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China's financial efforts help offset global risks
Last Updated: 2017-07-20 09:12 | Xinhua
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China's efforts to rigorously reform and continue opening up of its financial sector will contribute to global efforts to contain risks, said analysts.

Against the backdrop of weak recovery from the financial crisis and policy uncertainties around the globe, a series of conferences were held recently in China to soberly delve into existing risks and possible ways to fend them off.

LINGERING RISKS

Although U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has recently suggested that we might not experience another financial crisis "in our lifetimes," it is still too early to declare victory.

There exists risks for the United States pursuing a clean-up of balance sheet. Efforts to shore up the banking sector in parts of Europe are still lagging behind.

Speaking of global financial risks, Bao Jianyun, a professor on world economy at the Renmin University of China, told Xinhua that "with the developed economies still on a slow-growth trend, western countries should strictly prevent their financial markets from systemic risks."

Appetite of top financial policymakers is shifting from crisis firefighting to domestic growth in some western countries. For instance, U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is proposing to roll back many of post-crisis financial regulations.

Ou Minggang, director of international finance research center at China Foreign Affairs University, said "the new president's new deregulation plan may benefit his country in short time but would add risks to international financial system."

The major risks facing Europe are the withdrawal of monetary stimulus by the European Central Bank and possible scenarios amid the Brexit.

Such uncertainties have resulted in "confidence risks," especially after protectionist moves by some countries to close their doors to overseas trade and investment, Bao warned.

CHINA'S PLEDGE FOR MORE OPENING UP

As the trend of protectionism spreads from developed countries to developing ones, Bao regarded China as the backbone of global financial stability, with its rising stature in global finance.

"China, a major emerging economy, now becomes the main push of globalization. China's financial openness and stability attach itself an indispensable role in global financial system," said Bao.

China is committed to improving its investment and market environment, accelerating opening up to the outside world and lower operating costs, according to a Monday meeting of China's Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs.

"With the internationalization of Chinese currency, the world's second largest economy will further open up its financial market to provide more public goods on global market, partly replacing prior functions of western powers," Bao said.

China sees guarding against systemic financial risks as the eternal theme of financial work, announcing it will set up a committee under the State Council to oversee financial stability and development during the National Financial Work Conference that wrapped up on Saturday.

China is attaching great importance to financial stability and promoting financial work to enhance the country's competitiveness, said Bao, stressing that the financial stability has a strategic importance for the country.

Local governments are also guided to control debt growth, crack down upon financial irregularities and improve supervision on Internet finance at the conference.

"Such risk-elimination policies will definitely stabilize the Chinese and global financial systems in the context of financial interdependence between China and the world as a whole," said Ou.

REAL ECONOMY SET IN PROMINENCE

China's National Financial Work Conference impressed analysts of its emphasis on pushing financial sectors to serve the real economy.

The conference stressed that serving the real economy is the duty and purpose of the financial sectors and the fundamental way to guard against financial risks.

"The continuous improvement of financial service efficiency and quality will make it less expensive for business to borrow and give an impulse to entrepreneurship and innovations," said Ou.

The conference also called on financial sectors to channel more resources into both major and weak domains of economic and social development.

Ou said if the financial industry develops too fast to match the real economy, the finance sectors would risk crashing into nothing, citing Iceland as an example, "Icelander put down harpoon and take up finance."

The country had formidable international reach because of an outsized banking sector. However, the banking sector collapse finally brought down the country's economy.

Financial innovation has increased opportunities and lowered investment costs but innovation has at times made the financial system riskier.

Ou said that innovation may develop away from real economy even out of fundamental principles of finance, which can be very disruptive to global financial system.

"Other policy makers need to draw from China to take a balanced view on financial innovation," Ou told Xinhua. "The global finance is more like a network in which everything is connected to everything else and China with its increasing stability will play a bigger role in center of the stage."

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