Central bank: Boost economy using fiscal policy

Central bank official: Boost economy using fiscal policy
Zhou Xiaochuan, China’s central bank governor, speaks at a plenary session of the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan province, Mar 25, 2017. [Photo/Feng Yongbin]

The cycle of global quantitative easing is coming to an end and policymakers should rely more on fiscal policy to stimulate growth, Zhou Xiaochuan, China’s central bank governor, said on Sunday.

Zhou warned about the overreliance on monetary easing and said that policy is not “a panacea that can cure all kinds of illness”.

“The direction is to see the limit (of monetary policy) and to consider very carefully how to get out of the period of monetary easing,” Zhou said at a panel discussion at the Boao Forum for Asia.

In addition, governments should improve balance sheets and fiscal positions to create more room for fiscal policy, he said.

Quantitative easing is the practice of central banks pumping money into the economy through the purchase of assets, usually government bonds.

The central bank governor said China has the flexibility in fiscal policy, as the debt level of the central government is not very high, and added the country needs to streamline the relationship between the central and local governments to ensure fiscal policy fits the local conditions.

Zhou saw inflation and asset bubbles as the “unintended consequence” of the monetary easing.

At the forum, former prime minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz said emerging markets need to accelerate reforms.

Li Daokui, an economics professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, also warned about high inflation in the long run after monetary easing globally. But he said the monetary policy should not be blamed for the rapid rise of housing prices in China.

“Don’t rely on monetary policy to provide all the solutions and don’t blame monetary policy for all the problems,” Li said.

The central bank launched mortgage rules to cool the property market. Among them, raising the down payment requirement for buyers of a second home in Beijing to 60 percent of the price.

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