HONG KONG (Reuters) -People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Zhang Qingsong said on Tuesday he was “not too much worried” about his country’s economy, which is struggling to revive amid sluggish consumer demand and a crippling property sector debt crisis.
The central bank executive was speaking at the Global Financial Leaders Investment Summit hosted by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, where some of China’s senior regulators are meeting with chief executives from major Western banks and business officials.
China is grappling with an economic slowdown and a massive debt crisis in its property sector that has crippled some of its biggest developers, scared off investors and triggered fears of contagion.
Zhang also said the overall debt of the Chinese government is in the mid- to lower-range by international standards, while “structural issues” remained in some local government debt.
Eastern and central provinces were mostly in a strong position to serve their debt, he added.
The Chinese government’s leverage ratio stood at 79.4% as of the first quarter of 2023, Zhang said.
Beijing has sought to breathe life into China’s beleaguered property market and broader economy with a raft of measures that have so far done little to boost demand.
On Monday, balance of payments data showed China recorded its first-ever quarterly deficit in foreign direct investment (FDI), underscoring capital outflow pressures Beijing faces.
Speaking at the same finance event in Hong Kong, China Securities Regulatory Commission Vice-Chairman Wang Jianjun said China will be more actively participating in the international regulation of capital markets.
China faces a daunting task in trying to revive growth after a brief post-COVID-19 bounce in the wake of persistent weakness in the crucial property industry, a faltering currency and weak global demand for its manufactured goods.
(Reporting by Kane Wu, Selena Li and Summer Zhen; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Tom Hogue and Christopher Cushing)