China steps up financial support for industries hit by COVID-19 outbreaks

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will step up financial support to industries, businesses and people affected by COVID-19 outbreaks, the central bank said on Monday (April 18th), as part of measures to cushion the economic downturn.

Authorities will guide financial institutions to increase lending and return profits to the real economy, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said in a statement posted on its website.

Financial institutions should flexibly support those affected by COVID by reasonably delaying loan repayments and delinquent loans may not be recorded, the central bank said.

Financial institutions should appropriately purchase local government bonds to support infrastructure investment, he added.

China’s economy slowed in March as consumption, real estate and exports were hit hard, tarnishing faster-than-expected first-quarter growth figures and worsening an outlook already weakened by COVID-related restrictions -19 and the war in Ukraine.

China will set reasonable down payments and minimum interest rates on commercial housing loans, and meet the reasonable financing needs of property developers and construction companies, to help stabilize the property market, the PBOC said.

Financial institutions should actively respond to the financing needs of transport and logistics companies and truckers, as part of measures to support logistics and supply chains, he added.

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