News Economy China tries charm to reassure over slowing growth

China tries charm to reassure over slowing growth

China's normally reclusive central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan is an unusually prominent presence at the G20 finance ministers meeting in Shanghai, racing from seminar to news conference to spread positive messages about the world's second-largest economy.
After months of silence, the governor of the People's Bank of China (PBoC) wants investors to know that the yuan currency, also known as the renminbi (RMB), will be stable despite the slowest growth in a quarter of a century.
"The fundamentals of China's economy remain strong. There is no basis for persistent renminbi depreciation," Zhou told a conference on Friday, before delivering a similar message half an hour later at a rare media briefing by the central bank, all after he gave respected business magazine Caixin a lengthy interview earlier this month.
Chinese officials are mounting an unprecedented charm offensive in an attempt to convince global investors that its economy and currency are healthy, but doubts over their message remain despite the public statements.
The drive comes after senior officials from around the world, among them IMF chief Christine Lagarde and US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, urged Chinese authorities to communicate better.
"China is ramping up public relations in what will be a difficult 2016," China economist at IHS Global Insight, Brian Jackson, said in a research note.
"During the second half of 2015, a vacuum of public statements raised market uncertainty, which officials are now trying to fill, itself a positive development regardless of their exact messaging."
A stock market slump and shock currency devaluation in mid-2015 raised worries about Beijing's ability to avoid a hard landing.
Policymaking is secretive in the Communist-ruled country and state-backed media toe the party line, restricting the free flow of information that modern capital markets need, analysts say.
"It is important that they (Chinese officials) stick to the reform agenda that they have set out and that they communicate their policies clearly in a world that is very much anxious to know the reasons for actions that are taken," US treasury chief Lew told reporters in Shanghai.
Source: AFP