China central bank sees 'very normal' growth of 6-7 percent in next few years

Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:56am EDT
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By Koh Gui Qing

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will be able to keep annual economic growth at around 6-7 percent over the next three to five years, a top People's Bank of China (PBOC) policymaker said on Saturday, a day after the bank cut interest rates for the sixth time in less than a year.

The comments from Yi Gang, vice governor of the People's Bank of China, appeared to be aimed at reassuring investors this level of growth, China's slowest pace in two decades but still faster than other major economies, is the Chinese economy's "new normal".

"China's future economic growth will still be relatively quick. Around seven, six-point-something. These will all be very normal," he told a conference in Beijing.

As well as cutting interest rates on Friday, the PBOC lowered the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves.

Both moves were bids to jumpstart growth in China's slowing economy, a drag on global growth that has been of major concern in emerging markets and other leading economies.

Monetary policy easing in the world's second-largest economy is at its most aggressive since the 2008/09 financial crisis, as growth looks set to slip to a 25-year-low this year of under 7 percent.

Yi said China in the future would lower the reserve requirement ratio for banks, the amount of cash that major lenders need to keep on hand - at a "normal" pace.

"Our reserve requirement ratio is still at a relatively high level so there is still room to lower the RRR. In future, we will proceed to lower the RRR at a normal pace," he said.   Continued...

Labourers work on top of a construction site in Jinning, Yunnan province, China, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Wong Campion