Yi Gang: China's economic prospects still good
Despite some sagging economic indicators released recently, the Chinese economy is still in good shape and boasts momentum for growth, Yi Gang, vice governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said on Saturday.
"The growing trend has not changed," he told a forum in Tsinghua University, expecting the economy to recover in the second or third quarter of 2009.
China has felt the pinch of the global financial crisis, as its industrial growth sharply slowed to 5.4 percent in November, plunging 11.9 percent from a year earlier, which, according to Yi, is partly due to the excessive inventories in many enterprises.
Businesses are adjusting their commodity and raw material inventories, which will probably last for one or two quarters. After that, there should be a change in the country's economy, he said.
Yi expressed his confidence on the nation's economic prospects basing on the modest debt levels of households, enterprises and the government.
Household savings in China has reached 22 trillion yuan, while the total residents' bank loans is merely about 3.7 trillion yuan, which indicates the vast potential in exploring individual consumption, he said.
Although some enterprises have seen their profits shrinking in 2008, their debt to asset ratio is quite healthy and is on a downward track, averaging at 59 percent in recent years.
Moreover, China's treasury bond balance accounts for about 20 percent of its total GDP, much lower than the level in the US, the euro zone and Japan, which gives much leeway for the nation to implement the proactive fiscal policy.