China central bank urges calm after Baoshang takeover

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

June 2, 2019

By Andrew Galbraith

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s central bank sought to calm investors on Sunday after last month’s takeover of Inner Mongolia-based Baoshang Bank, saying regulators are not planning any more such moves for the moment.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) took control of Baoshang on May 24, rattling Chinese markets and prompting the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to inject cash into the banking system.

In response to concerns that regulators planned more takeovers of financial institutions, the PBOC said on Sunday that Baoshang was a standalone case.

“Everyone, please don’t worry. At present we don’t yet have this plan,” it said in a statement on its website.

The PBOC also said it would use various monetary policy tools to stabilize money markets and boost banking system liquidity, but did not mention broader easing.

“The PBOC has fully estimated and prepared for the various factors that will affect liquidity in June, and will flexibly use reverse repurchase agreements and the medium-term lending facility in accordance with the cash supply-and-demand situation of the market,” it said in a statement.

The central bank has previously pledged more policy support for a slowing economy, but PBOC Governor Yi Gang has said there is less room for further monetary easing.

On Sunday, the PBOC said relatively low reserve requirements for medium- and small-sized banks would boost their liquidity, while a previously announced phased cut to reserve requirements is expected to release 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) in long-term liquidity to medium- and small-sized banks on June 17.

The PBOC said deposit insurance funds and its own funds provided sufficient guarantees for all types of creditors in Baoshang Bank following the takeover, which it said had been triggered by the improper and illegal use of significant bank funds by Tomorrow Holdings, which holds 89% of Baoshang’s shares, leading to a serious credit crisis at the bank.

All personal accounts and interbank debts of less than 50 million yuan would be guaranteed, the PBOC said, adding that the average guarantee ratio of debts of above 50 million yuan would be “around 90%”.

Chinese regulators issued instructions to banks last week that could see larger creditors facing haircuts of as much as 30%, sources told Reuters.

(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith and Meng Meng in SHANGHAI, and Cheng Leng in BEIJING; editing by Deepa Babington and Alexander Smith)

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