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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business
Banks told to lower returns on WMPs
    2017-July-20  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

THE banking regulator told some lenders to lower the rates they offer on wealth management products (WMPs), sources familiar with the matter said, as officials move to reduce financial risks and stimulate the economy.

Banks, including some big lenders, received the order from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) earlier this month, said the sources. The requirement applies to on-balance sheet wealth management products, which account for about a fifth of the nation’s more than US$4 trillion of WMPs, according to one of the sources.

Lenders had pushed WMP yields to a 17-month high in an effort to offset a funding squeeze caused by China’s campaign against leverage. Regulators are concerned that some banks may be passing on the higher funding costs to their borrowers, potentially threatening economic growth and stoking inflation.

China “is reluctant to close the taps for funding in the economy through risky off-balance sheet products, but as a compromise is ‘asking’ banks to lower the interest rates on them,” said Andrew Collier, an independent analyst in Hong Kong and former president of Bank of China International’s U.S. division. “It is another way to try to reduce risk in the economy without shutting off credit.”

“The regulators’ aim is for banks to start investing in lower-yield, safer investments, partially removing the risky element,” said Jonas Short, who heads the Beijing office of Sun Hung Kai Financial. “For funding costs, this is likely to affect small and medium-sized banks, as they rely on WMP issuance for deposits, more so than the large deposit-taking banks.”

Following the government’s renewed drive to curb leverage, banks pushed the average returns on WMPs to an annualized 4.66 percent by the end of June, the highest level in at least 17 months, data from Chengdu-based PY Standard showed.

Those yields eclipse the nation’s benchmark one-year deposit rate of 1.5 percent and have helped WMPs become an increasingly bigger source of bank funding. The amount of WMPs held by Chinese banks had grown to 29.1 trillion yuan (US$4.3 trillion) as of December, about 80 percent of which resided off their balance sheets, according to CBRC data.

The on-balance sheet WMPs being targeted by the CBRC’s latest move are principal-guaranteed products, meaning banks are obliged to repay investors in full upon maturity.

The risk of pushing down returns is that the move may trigger a disorderly exodus of funds from the products, said Michael Every, head of financial markets research at Rabobank Group in Hong Kong.

The opacity of some of the products’ underlying assets and their complicated structures through layers of non-bank financial institutions will lead to a chain reaction and exacerbate market volatility when risks emerge, the central bank said in its 2017 financial stability report.(SD-Agencies)

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