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China to continue prudent, neutral monetary policy in 2018

Xinhua ,December 22, 2017 Adjust font size:

China has decided to maintain a prudent and neutral monetary policy in 2018 as the world's second largest economy strives to balance growth and risk prevention.

"Prudent monetary policy should be kept neutral, the floodgates of monetary supply should be controlled, and credit and social financing should see reasonable growth," said a statement released after the Central Economic Work Conference which concluded Wednesday.

The tone-setting words came as China faces the dual task of ensuring stable economic growth and liquidity while averting financial risks accumulated over years of credit binges and lax regulations.

Authorities have maintained a prudent and neutral monetary policy this year, keeping appropriate liquidity levels but avoiding excessive liquidity injections.

The central bank has increasingly relied on open market operations for liquidity management, rather than cuts in interest rates or reserve requirement ratios.

Wednesday's statement reiterated that systemic financial risks should be forestalled.

It said the yuan's exchange rate will be kept basically stable at a reasonable and balanced level.

On the fiscal front, the statement said "the proactive orientation of fiscal policy will be maintained, while the structure of fiscal spending should be optimized."

Authorities will ensure fiscal support for major fields and projects while reducing regular expenditures.

Concrete measures will be taken to strengthen the regulation of local government debt, according to the statement.

The three-day conference, the first of its kind since the 19th CPC National Congress, is the most important annual meeting on economic work in the country.

During the conference, Chinese leaders reviewed the country's economic performance over the past five years and mapped out plans for 2018.

China's GDP expanded 6.9 percent year on year in the first three quarters, above the government's target of around 6.5 percent for this year.