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China regulator says shadow banking crackdown reaches initial targets

[BEIJING] China's moves to crack down on illicit banking activities have achieved initial targets and 20 sets of new regulations to increase supervision will be issued this year, the chief of the banking regulator's Prudential Regulation Bureau said on Friday.

The new regulations will cover policy banks, online lending, interest rate risks and asset management firms, Xiao Yuanqi told a briefing.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) will make sure to minimise any negative impact on the economy from the regulator's crackdown on illegal practices, he said.

The CBRC said that banks have basically completed self-assessment on risks that authorities had mandated under a regulatory crackdown on shadow banking activities.

The CBRC extended by two months a June deadline for banks to submit risk assessments over concerns it was putting strain on the lenders, sources told Reuters earlier.

Mr Xiao said that interbank, wealth management products, and off-balance sheet businesses are core problems for the banking sector.

In the second quarter, outstanding interbank assets and liabilities both shrank for the first time since 2010, he said.

Interbank assets and liabilities both shed 1.8 trillion yuan (S$367.95 billion) in the first half this year.

The total amount of Chinese banks' wealth management products was 28.4 trillion yuan at end-June, Mr Xiao added.

The central bank this year has increased checks on banks'off-balance sheet wealth management products - a key component of shadow banking credit - while the banking regulator has stepped up a crackdown on risky lending behaviour.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) will start to include negotiable certificates of deposit (NCDs) - a popular short-term debt instrument for smaller banks in interbank market - in its quarterly risk assessments from the first quarter of 2018.

The CBRC is also encouraging banks to speed up disposal of non-performing loans and will maintain its push for asset-backed securitisation of NPLs, said Xu Jieqin, vice chief of the Policy Research Bureau.

It will also go ahead with a creditor committee system to tackle the corporate debt problem and encourage banks to conduct debt restructuring of companies facing temporary difficulties and support banks to conduct debt-for-equity swaps, Mr Xu added.

China's commercial banks reported higher first-half profits, while overall non-performing loans in June did not increase from March, the banking regulator said on Monday.