A week ago Yahoo Finance reported the following:
Why China Can’t Get Its Economy Moving
Bloomberg Dinny McMahon,Bloomberg 12 hours ago
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(Bloomberg Opinion) -- China’s new GDP numbers show that the world’s second-biggest economy is growing more slowly than at any time since the early 1990s. Chinese leaders know what they need to do to arrest the slide: pump more credit into private companies, which generate the majority of jobs and growth. The fact that growth isn’t picking up regardless of their efforts would suggest banks are resisting this imperative. But, the issue isn’t whether they’re complying, it’s how they’re choosing to do so.
The government is correct that the private sector’s health is essential to the viability of the overall economy. Private firms account for 80% of jobs, 60% of economic growth and about half of all fiscal revenue in China -- and manage to do so with far lower levels of debt than state-owned companies. Since May 2018, the central bank has thus repeatedly cut banks’ reserve requirement ratios to free up liquidity, then nudged banks to direct that credit toward private firms, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises.
At the same time, authorities have demanded that banks reduce risk which, in a slowing economy, should mean more conservative and market-oriented lending practices. Chinese banks consider small, private companies as the single riskiest group of borrowers in the economy. Unlike state-owned firms, they’re not backed by the government and often don’t have a lot of assets that they can post as security.
Banks have found a way to balance these competing demands by ramping up a very specific type of lending -- discounting of bankers’ acceptances.
While bankers’ acceptances exist the world over, they play an outsized role in China’s financial system. When a company buys something from a supplier, it can pay using a bankers’ acceptance, issued by a bank on behalf of the buyer. When the acceptance matures at some pre-arranged point in the future, the supplier exchanges it for cash from the bank for the amount of the sale. The bank then seeks payment from the company on whose behalf it issued the acceptance.
Sometimes, however, the company that’s been paid with an acceptance needs money before it’s due. It can then go to any bank and exchange the acceptance for cash, albeit at a discount to the value of the acceptance. In short, discounting is not unlike a low-interest payday loan, with the bank lending against future income. The discount rate is currently about 3.6%, which means that if a company cashes in a 100-yuan acceptance that matures in six months, it will receive a discounted 98.2 yuan from the bank.
For the past year, growth in bank lending to non-financial companies has been driven solely by bankers’ acceptance discounting. At the end of April 2019, the outstanding volume of discounted bankers’ acceptances -- what the People’s Bank of China refers to as “paper financing” -- was up 2.92 trillion yuan ($425 billion), or 76%, from a year earlier, accounting for 32% of all new credit created in that period. Meanwhile, new medium- and long-term loans declined 6% over the same period to 5.53 trillion yuan. Short-term loans (which accounted for 4% of new loans) fell 67%.
For banks, discounting seems like a handy solution to their political dilemma. Most of the companies that present acceptances for discounting are small, privately owned firms -- just the kind of companies the government is looking to support. At the same time, discounting is the safest type of corporate loan a bank can make. While the cash goes to a company, the counter party risk lies with the bank that issued the acceptance.
In effect, discounted bankers’ acceptances are inter-bank loans. Consequently, the risk-weighted capital that banks need to set aside against them is far less than that required for ordinary corporate loans. That’s particularly useful at a time when the large volume of bad-loan write-offs is making unprecedented demands on bank capital. What acceptances don’t do, unfortunately, is expand economic activity. As a rule, companies don’t like discounting their acceptances. Many Chinese firms operate on wafer-thin margins, and discounting erodes their profits. Only when they desperately need cash -- to pay wages, bonuses, taxes and social security contributions, utilities and interest on loans -- do they resort to the tactic.
While acceptances are useful as a way of getting cash to companies that are otherwise struggling to stay alive, therefore, they don’t provide either the investment capital or working capital needed to stimulate growth. For that, banks would have to extend real (and far riskier) loans to companies, which they’re still loath to do.
The central bank has supported discounting as the answer to the private sector’s problems. Other branches of the government are less convinced. At the end of June, an official from the National Audit Office said the financing environment for small firms hasn’t “fundamentally improved.” Till now, Chinese policymakers and banks have been able to convince themselves that they can make the country’s financial system safer while also stimulating growth. They may soon have to choose between the two.
(彭博觀點)--中國新的國內生產總值資料顯示, 這個世界第二大經濟體的增長速度比上世紀90年代初以來的任何時期都慢。中國領導人知道他們需要做些什麼來遏制這種下滑: 向私人公司注入更多的信貸, 從而創造了大部分就業機會和增長。事實證明, 無論它們的努力如何, 經濟增長並沒有加快, 這一事實表明, 銀行正在抵制這一迫切性。但是, 問題不在於他們是否遵守, 而是他們選擇如何去做。
政府是正確的,私營部門的健康對整體經濟的生存能力至關重要。私營企業占中國80%的就業機會、60%的經濟增長, 和大約一半的財政收入, 而且其債務水準遠低於國有企業。因此, 自2018年5月以來, 央行多次下調銀行存款準備金率以釋放流動性, 然後推動銀行將信貸投向私營企業, 尤其是中小企業。
與此同時,當局要求銀行降低風險,在經濟放緩的情況下,這應該意味著面對向市場的群體,貸款行為需要更加保守。中資銀行認為, 小型私人公司是經濟中風險最大的借款人群體。與國有企業不同, 它們不受政府支援, 而且往往沒有很多資產可以作為擔保。
銀行已經找到了一種平衡這些相互競爭需求的方法,即增加一種非常具體的貸款類型 —— 有折扣的銀行承兌
然而,有時,接受承兌匯票付款的公司在未到期需要錢,它可以去任何銀行,將承兌匯票兌換成現金,儘管與承兌價值有折扣。簡而言之, 貼現與低息發薪日貸款並無二, 銀行貸款用未來收入作担保。貼現率目前約為3.6%, 這意味著如果一家公司在6個月內兌現100元的承兌, 在减扣貼現後將從銀行獲得98.2元。
過去一年,銀行對非金融公司的貸款增長完全是由銀行家的承兌貼現推動的。截至2019年4月底, 中國銀行(人民銀行稱之為"票據融資") 的貼現銀行承兌額較上年同期增加2.92萬億元(合4250億美元), 或較上年增長76%, 占新增信貸總量的32%。與此同時, 同期新增中長期貸款5.53萬億元, 同比下降6%。短期貸款(占新增貸款的4%) 下降了67%。
對銀行來說, 貼現似乎是解決其政治困境的一個得心應手的辦法。大多數接受折扣的公司都是小型的私有公司, 而正是政府希望支援的那種公司。同時, 貼現是銀行所能發放的最安全的企業貸款類型。當現金流向公司時, 交易對手的風險在於簽發承兌匯票的銀行。
實際上, 貼現的銀行家的承兌是銀行間貸款。因此, 銀行需要預留的風險加權資本遠遠低於普通企業貸款所需。在大量不良貸款核銷對銀行資本提出前所未有的資本需求的時候, 這做法尤其有用。不幸的是, 接受承兌並沒有使經濟活動擴大。通常, 公司不喜歡接受打折承兌。許多中國公司的利潤微薄, 而貼現侵蝕了他們的利潤。只有當他們迫切需要現金 ——如支付工資、獎金、稅收和社會保障繳款、水電費和貸款利息——他們才會採取這種策略。
雖然接受承兌是有用的, 它是一種方式去使掙扎活著的公司獲得現金, 因此承兌銀行是沒有提供投資資本或營運資本以刺激增長。為此, 銀行應該向企業提供實際(風險大得多)的貸款, 然而他們仍不願意這樣做。
So, China should have a way to solve their economic problems soon.