The International Mone-tary Fund on Thursday warned of brewing risks in China's banking system as it found dozens of crucial lenders needed to beef up their protection against possible financial crises. The report comes a day after regulators in Beijing drafted new rules to strengthen bank funding and follows a number of alerts about a ballooning debt problem in the world's number-two economy.
Near the top of the list in the IMF study scrutinizing the stability of China's financial system is the need for banks to increase their capital to ward off risks from mounting debt. China has largely relied on debt-fuelled investment and exports to drive its tremendous economic growth, but the IMF said this model has reached its limits.
Part of the problem lies in high growth targets, the IMF said, which incentivize local governments to extend credit and protect failing companies. "We recommend the authorities to de-emphasize the GDP" growth, Ratna Sahay, deputy director of the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department, said during a news conference. China should "incite local governments to strengthen supervision on risks", she said.
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