(Bloomberg) — China’s central bank will strengthen efforts to stabilize trade and improve the business environment for foreign firms, its governor said Monday, adding to pledges among top leaders this year to open up to overseas investors.
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People’s Bank of China Governor Pan Gongsheng stressed the central bank’s initiatives at a symposium attended by representatives from a slew of top foreign companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., HSBC Holdings Plc., Deutsche Bank AG, BNP Paribas, UBS Group AG and Tesla Inc. Pan’s remarks were detailed in a PBOC statement.
Authorities will consider more measures to stabilize foreign investment and trade, Pan said. He pledged to continue optimizing the operating environment for overseas companies.
As China removed pandemic controls, its top leaders vowed this year to establish space for foreign companies to develop in the Asian nation. That goal was punctuated in March by Premier Li Qiang, who courted overseas companies with pledges to “unswervingly stick to opening up, regardless of changes to the global environment.”
Confidence among foreign firms about China has struggled, though — particularly because of tensions between Beijing and the West, along with concerns about ambiguity over regulations in the world’s second-largest economy. A survey published earlier this year by the American Chamber of Commerce in China showed the nation was not a top three investment priority for a majority of US firms, the first time that happened in about 25 years.
China has stepped up its charm offensive — both in the real economy and within markets — as authorities try to bolster confidence in a weak environment this year where concerns about an economic slowdown have been pervasive.
As part of efforts to revitalize the private sector and attract foreign investment, the country’s top economic planner is setting up a dedicated department to promote private sector growth. In July, the ruling Communist Party vowed to treat the companies the same as state-owned enterprises.
China’s securities regulator recently pledged more measures to support capital markets and said it had met with investors including BlackRock Inc. and Bridgewater Associates to hear their suggestions.
Foreign holdings of China’s equities and debt have fallen by about 1.37 trillion yuan ($188 billion) from a December-2021 peak through the end of June. The massive retreat of funds from Chinese stocks and bonds is diminishing the market’s clout in global portfolios.
The nation’s economy, meanwhile, is trying to regain its footing as the recovery lost steam. The central bank last week cut the amount of cash lenders must hold in reserve for the second time this year — a move that will help banks support government spending and Beijing’s broader effort to stoke economic growth.
The central bank will push to improve the quality and efficiency of financial services and help create a business friendly environment, Pan said in the meeting.
(Updates with Beijing’s latest push to boost private economy)
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