For China’s central bank, the 36 percent stock market rally through Jan. 16 spurred in part by a surprise November interest-rate cut is the latest reminder that it’s easier to unleash money than to guide it to the right places.
Since Zhou Xiaochuan became People’s Bank of China governor in late 2002, the broad money supply base has expanded almost seven times to 122.8 trillion yuan ($20 trillion) while the economy has grown about five times. That translates to a M2/GDP ratio of about 200 percent versus about 70 percent in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
That liquidity springs up like a jack-in-the-box, driving property prices, then shifting to stocks, before moving on to whatever may be next. Such sprees help explain the PBOC’s reluctance to cut banks’ required reserve ratios even as the economy slows. Instead, it’s trying targeted tools to guide money to preferred areas such as farming and small business.
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