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China slashes banks’ reserve requirements again as growth slows

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s central bank said on Friday it was cutting the amount of cash that banks have to hold as reserves for the fifth time in a year, freeing up $116 billion for new lending as it tries to reduce the risk of a sharp economic slowdown.

Headquarters of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, is pictured in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The move comes amid mounting worries about the health of the world’s second-largest economy, which is facing both slowing demand at home and punishing U.S. tariffs on its exported goods.

Global stock markets sold off on Thursday after a warning from tech giant Apple Inc about slowing China sales, while data earlier this week showed the country’s manufacturing activity shrank in December for the first time in over two years.

The announcement came just hours after Premier Li Keqiang said China would take further action to bolster the economy, including reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cuts and more cuts in taxes and fees, highlighting the urgency to cope with increased growth headwinds.

“This speedy RRR cut with great intensity fully demonstrates the determination of policymakers to stabilize growth,” said Yang Hao, an analyst at Nanjing Securities.

“At present, the economy is facing very big downward pressure amid internal and external troubles.”

The cut in RRR is the first in 2019 by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). It cut the ratio for all banks, freeing up a net 800 billion yuan ($116.51 billion) after lenders use some of the 1.5 trillion yuan in liquidity released to pay back maturing medium-term loans.

The size of the move was on the upper end of market expectations, and the net funds released would be the largest amount in the five cuts since last January.

“Policy easing will be stepped up further over coming months,” Capital Economics said in a research note.

“With credit growth still slowing and, typically, a six-month lag before any turnaround in credit affects the economy, worries about the outlook for China will persist for several months yet.”

RRRs – currently 14.5 percent for large institutions and 12.5 percent for smaller banks – will be lowered by a total of 100 basis points in two stages, the PBOC said.

The cuts will be effective Jan. 15 and Jan. 25, ahead of the long Lunar New Year celebrations when cash conditions often get tight.

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Further cuts in the RRR had been widely expected this year, especially after a spate of weak data in recent months showed China’s economy was continuing to lose steam amid increased signs of a pinch from the trade war with the United States.

The central bank said China’s growth was still within a reasonable range and it would continue to implement a prudent monetary policy, without engaging in massive stimulus.

“We will maintain reasonable and sufficient liquidity, maintain reasonable growth in the scale of money and credit and social financing, stabilize macro-leverage and seek internal and external balances,” it said.

Analysts say Beijing will have to keep up a relatively steady stream of stimulus to engineer a sustainable economic turnaround. But they note policy transmission difficulties faced by the central bank to boost credit for private and small firms – which are vital for economic growth and jobs.

Cutting benchmark interest rates may be a last-resort option as that could weigh on the yuan currency CNY=CFXS and fuel debt risks in the economy, analysts say.

Economists believe the government could take more fiscal steps by cutting taxes and boosting spending on infrastructure projects, amid expectations that the annual budget deficit ratio could be lifted to 3 percent in 2019 from 2.6 percent last year.

Still, China’s economic growth is expected to have cooled to around 6.5 percent last year – which would be the weakest since 1990 – in line with Beijing’s target but down from 6.9 percent in 2017.

A further deceleration is seen this year, with some analysts forecasting growth will cool to just over 6 percent.

Additional reporting by China Monitoring Desk and Stella Qiu; Editing by Kim Coghill and Nick Macfie

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Independent Consultant Beginner – 6 Should Have Pieces Of It Technology And Software

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Prima Wireless Earbuds Reviewhttps://primawirelessearbuds.net/.

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What Make Sure You Really Know Right Anyone Decide To Travel

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When traveling with children advised plan your route in advance. Do a little research and see as relevant and fun places to stop such as parks, museums or other attractions. Once you take breaks every non-chemical hours so everyone maybe even including the children probably get out and stretch their legs.

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Majority of Canadian workers willing to take less pay for a workplace pension plan: survey

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A majority (70 per cent) of Canadians say they’re willing to forgo a higher salary in exchange for a workplace pension plan, according to a new survey for the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan by Abacus Data.

The survey, which polled more than 2,000 Canadian adults in April, signals an opportunity for employers to build back the post-coronavirus pandemic working landscape better by expanding access to good retirement plans — whether they’re defined benefit, defined contribution or group registered retirement savings plans, says Steven McCormick, senior vice-president of plan operations at the HOOPP.

According to the survey, a secure retirement remains of greater concern for Canadians than concerns about their health, debt load and job security. McCormick says this has been a consistent worry the HOOPP has seen in survey results over the past couple of years. Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents said they’re very concerned about having enough money in retirement, while 31 per cent were highly concerned about their personal debt load and 26 per cent cited their job security. Close to half of respondents expressed high concerns for their physical (43 per cent) and mental (40 per cent) health.

In addition, the pandemic has harmed the finances of more than half (52 per cent) of Canadians’ surveyed and it’s had a particularly disproportionate affect on the finances of younger adults. Adults aged 44 and younger said they’re twice as likely (25 per cent) to have had their finances greatly harmed, compared to those over the age of 60 (12 per cent).

Generally, younger adults tend to work in roles that may have been impacted most by the pandemic, says McCormick, whether in service industries that were shut down or frontline health care that have been busy but don’t always come with access to a pension plan. “Affordability is an issue, so I think their worries increased during this time.”

And while almost half (46 per cent) of Canadians surveyed said they’ve saved more money than they would have since the onset of the pandemic, among these respondents, over half (52 per cent) didn’t put any of their savings toward their retirement. Overall, most (63 per cent) Canadians surveyed haven’t set aside or saved anything for retirement in the past year, a five-point increase since 2019.

McCormick says this may be due to uncertainty or hesitancy about whether people’s immediate needs outweigh longer-term needs. And with 55 per cent of respondents noting they were very concerned about the cost of day-to-day living, he adds that rising prices have fuelled insecurity and worries so people are creating their own emergency funds right now.

While there’s a segment of the population who’ve saved more and, for them, the pandemic has created wealth, he doesn’t see this as a common narrative in the survey data. “If you don’t have access to a workplace pension or the opportunity to have things like automatic enrolment, the uncertainty of the time may have you holding onto money,” says McCormick. “In Ontario, we’re more optimistic about the pandemic than we were maybe a month ago, but there are still people worrying about whether there’ll be a fourth wave.”

In addition, more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents said a retirement crisis is looming and 65 per cent said saving for retirement is prohibitively expensive. It’s a common and shared dream for many people in looking forward to a secure retirement, says McCormick, noting for many, making that dream a reality remains elusive.

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