© Reuters. China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan speaks during a session on the second day of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing© Reuters. China’s central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan speaks during a session on the second day of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will maintain prudent monetary policy and reasonable loan growth in 2018, central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan said in comments published on Sunday.

In a new year’s message, Governor Zhou said that in 2017 the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) had strengthened macro-economic controls, deepened financial reform, prevented systemic financial risks and promoted finance to serve the real economy.

In 2018, the central bank will continue its prudent policy and maintain reasonable monetary credit and social financing growth, Zhou added.

China’s central bank pledged on Friday to maintain its “prudent and neutral” monetary policy and to use policy tools to keep liquidity reasonably stable.

Analysts expect the PBOC to keep policy slightly tight in 2018 – even as that has lifted market rates to multi-year highs – to support a broader deleveraging drive to contain risks in the world’s second-largest economy.

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