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More capacity for macro policy support possible for China: National statistics bureau chief

China has ample room for macro policy support and has the confidence and capacity to achieve a reasonable growth this year, says the country's data bureau chief.

While the China-United States (US) trade war has softened China’s economy, the impact seen from the trade conflict on China’s growth is still considered ‘manageable’, claims the country’s national statistics bureau chief.

Mr Ning Jizhe, the head of the National Bureau of Statistics for China added that the country has ample room for macro policy support, and China has the confidence and capacity to achieve a reasonable growth this year, without elaborating.

The slowing economy has also shown some signs of stabilization over the past two months, Mr Ning said.

Government data on Monday showed China’s economic growth for the fourth quarter expanding at the slowest pace since the global financial crisis, as domestic and foreign demand slackened amid the country’s trade conflict with the US.

China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the fourth quarter rose by 6.4%, matching levels last seen in early 2009. The performance was aligned with economists’ forecasts but was weaker than the previous quarter’s 6.5% growth.

For the full year of 2018, growth fell to the weakest in 28 years, posting a 6.6% year-on-year expansion.

Calling on banks to support the economy: central bank official

A central bank official is encouraging China’s banks to actively increase their support for the Chinese economy instead of taking the backseat by relying on authorities’ orders to boost lending.

Such a move is the key to improving the supply of credit in the economy, Mr Sun Guofeng, head of the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) monetary policy department wrote in a commentary in a PBOC magazine on Monday.

The PBOC is taking steps to relieve constraints on credit availability to try to ensure that a looser monetary policy is reflected in the softer credit conditions, Mr Sun said.

The central bank is also using a range of measures to encourage banks to lend to smaller firms, including strategies such as targeted reserve requirement cuts and targeted medium-term loan facility.

China has been hit by weak domestic and foreign demand due partly to the trade war with the US and the Chinese authorities have been struggling to boost lending as a strategy to prop up the economy.

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