Key China gathering sees bigger role for Communist Party in finance

BEIJING (Reuters) -China will step up the Communist Party’s leadership of its $61 trillion finance industry and strengthen efforts to reduce local debt risks, state media reported, citing a key twice-a-decade financial policy meeting that was held on Oct.30-31.

China will uphold the centralised and unified leadership of the Communist Party on financial work, the National Financial Work Conference held in Beijing was quoted as saying.

The gathering, attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang, said China would set up a mechanism for resolving local debt risks and managing local government debt.

It will also help with reasonable financing demands for all types of property enterprises and pursue policies that aim to meet housing demand, the conference was quoted as saying.

China will “persist in taking risk prevention and control as the eternal theme of financial work,” it was quoted as saying. “We should be aware that all kinds of contradictions and problems in the financial field are intertwined and influence each other, some of which are still very prominent, and there are still many hidden risks of economic and financial risks.”

First held in 1997, the conference is closely watched for its impact on the development of China’s financial system, setting the direction for major reforms over the next five years.

The conference, usually held once every five years, did not take place in 2022. The last one was in 2017.

In March, China unveiled a sweeping shake-up of its financial regulatory regime, including a plan to set up the Central Financial Commission to tighten the party’s grip on the financial sector.

China will improve the mechanism of the party’s leadership in financial work, with the Central Financial Commission playing its role, the conference was quoted as saying.

China will also guard against systemic risks and put all kinds of financial activities under supervision, it said.

It will maintain a prudent monetary policy and the yuan exchange rate at a reasonable and balanced level.

Additionally, China will strengthen its capital market hubs, develop diversified equity financing and improve the quality of listed companies, it said.

(Reporting by Ziyi Tang, Kevin Yao, Liangping Gao, Bernard Orr and Ella CaoEditing by Ed Osmond and Mark Potter)