February 23, 2017 / 10:47 AM / 6 months ago

China monetary policy to prevent asset bubbles, contain debt risks - central bank

Residential buildings are seen in Beijing, China, January 10, 2017. Picture taken on January 10, 2017.Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's monetary policy this year will contain risks posed by debt, prevent asset bubbles and keep economic growth on track, the central bank's chief economist said on Thursday.

In December, Chinese leaders pledged monetary policy would be "prudent and neutral" in 2017, as they looked for a path of stable and healthy growth.

Ma Jun, chief economist at the People's Bank of China, said that policy would "prevent rapid rises in leverage ratios and avoid asset bubbles, under the premise of maintaining reasonable economic growth and basically stable inflation", according to a transcript seen by Reuters of a speech made in Singapore.

The central bank recently moved to raise short-term interest rates to help rein in debt risks.

Ma predicted a rebound in China's exports this year, alongside quickening manufacturing investment, while he said he expected property investment to slow.

China's consumer prices are likely to rise around 2.5 percent this year, Ma said.

Consumer inflation accelerated to 2.5 percent in January from a year earlier, the highest for a month since May 2014.

According to the transcript, Ma also said China is studying plans to appropriately extend interbank bond market trading hours.

China's measures to further open up its bond market to foreign investors could pave the way for its inclusion in major global bond market indexes, he said.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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