Bet­ter Ru­ral Fi­nance

Beijing Review - - This Week -

China will make ru­ral ar­eas the key fo­cus of de­vel­op­ing in­clu­sive fi­nance to im­prove the ru­ral vi­tal­iza­tion strate­gies of fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

The growth of in­clu­sive loans to farm­ers and small and mi­cro agri­cul­tural busi­nesses should be no slower than the aver­age lend­ing growth, while credit for tar­geted poverty al­le­vi­a­tion should grow at a higher rate, ac­cord­ing to a doc­u­ment on pro­mot­ing ru­ral fi­nance is­sued by the Chi­nese bank­ing au­thor­i­ties.

By the end of 2018, town­ships with­out bank­ing in­sti­tu­tions and vil­lages with­out ba­sic fi­nan­cial ser­vices should be cut by over one third, the doc­u­ment said.

Such fi­nan­cial ser­vices cov­ered 96.44 per­cent of vil­lages in China at the end of 2017, while 95.99 per­cent of town­ships had fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

The in­no­va­tion of fi­nan­cial prod­ucts and ser­vices and the strength­en­ing of the over­sight of risk were also high­lighted in the doc­u­ment.

At the end of last year, China’s out­stand­ing loans to farm­ers, agri­cul­ture and ru­ral ar­eas to­taled 30.95 tril­lion yuan ($4.89 tril­lion), up 9.64 per­cent year on year.

The aver­age price of new homes in the four first-tier cities of Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Guangzhou and Shen­zhen all fell from the pre­vi­ous month, down 0.3 per­cent, 0.2 per­cent, 0.4 per­cent and 0.6 per­cent, re­spec­tively, ac­cord­ing to the NBS data.

On a yearly ba­sis, the 15 largest cities saw their aver­age new hous­ing prices edge down 0.1 per­cent last month, but growth of aver­age new hous­ing prices in the other 55 cities sur­veyed ac­cel­er­ated.

The prices of ex­ist­ing homes in first-tier cities de­clined for the 17th straight month in Fe­bru­ary.

This came af­ter NBS data re­vealed in mid-March that growth in prop­erty de­vel­op­ment in­vest­ment re­bounded in the first two months of the year, ris­ing 9.9 per­cent from one year ear­lier and ac­cel­er­at­ing from an in­crease of 7 per­cent reg­is­tered in 2017.

Dur­ing pre­vi­ous years, rock­et­ing hous­ing prices, es­pe­cially in ma­jor cities, have fu­eled con­cerns about as­set bub­bles. To curb spec­u­la­tion, lo­cal gov­ern­ments passed or ex­panded their re­stric­tions on house pur­chases and in­creased the min­i­mum down pay­ment re­quired for a mort­gage.

This year’s gov­ern­ment work re­port re­it­er­ated that “houses are for liv­ing in, not for spec­u­la­tion.”

“We will sup­port peo­ple in buy­ing homes for personal use, and de­velop the rental mar­ket and shared own­er­ship hous­ing,” it said.

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