Interview: Epidemic unlikely to batter China's economy
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The innate resilience of the Chinese economy as well as the use of counter-cyclical adjustments will help the country maintain stable growth despite the novel coronavirus outbreak, said Lian Ping, chief economist at the Bank of Communications.

The outbreak may exert a short-lived downward pressure on consumption and investment, but won't change the country's sound economic fundamentals, Lian told Xinhua in an interview.
In 2019, the Chinese economy was generally stable with upbeat signs in manufacturing, retailing, foreign trade and financing, boding stable growth in the long term, said Lian.

While the epidemic put a damper on industries like tourism, catering and entertainment, fast growth has been registered in burgeoning sectors such as online shopping, working, learning, training and healthcare services, he said.

Lian also noted that consumption will see a rebound once the outbreak ends and pent-up demands unleash, benefiting the tertiary industry.

Besides, the country has sufficient policy room to keep growth stable, he said.
The Ministry of Finance has so far allocated 1.85 trillion yuan (about 264.2 billion U.S. dollars) worth of new local government bonds ahead of schedule this year to shore up the economy.

The central bank injected a forecast-beating 1.7 trillion yuan through reverse repos into the market in the first two days after the Spring Festival holiday, demonstrating its determination to stabilize market expectations and boost market confidence.

Lian suggested the country strengthen proactive fiscal policy and keep sufficient liquidity to help small- and micro-enterprises tide over the difficult period.

Meanwhile, targeted financial support and lower interest rates are needed to ease the burden on the real economy, he said.

"Pessimism over the epidemic's impact on China's long-term growth doesn't hold water," Lian said.

Source: Xinhua
2020-02-20

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