Top regulator aims to safeguard market order, further support private business
China's recent antimonopoly moves and preventive measures against disorderly capital expansion are essential to creating a better business environment for the private sector, the country's top economic regulator said on Thursday.
Regulatory measures against illegal market behavior are pragmatic and necessary to promote the healthy development of relevant industries as well as uphold social fairness and justice, said Xu Shanchang, director of the Department of Comprehensive System Reform at the National Development and Reform Commission.
Xu said at a news conference in Beijing that the alleged "cracking down on private businesses" is "groundless", saying improving market order in accordance with the law and promoting fair competition will help create a fairer business environment for all market players.
The NDRC reaffirmed its support for the private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, saying it will take a series of measures to tackle the difficulties and problems facing private business.
To ease the pressure of rising commodity costs for downstream enterprises and SMEs, the commission will step up monitoring and analysis of commodity prices, arrange the release of national reserves, increase market supplies, strengthen regulation of futures and the spot market and crack down on market speculation, said Jiang Yi, deputy director of the NDRC's Department of Comprehensive System Reform.
So far, the NDRC has taken several measures to ensure stable commodity supplies and prices, including boosting production and cracking down on illegal activities such as price gouging and hoarding.
In early October, the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, China's State reserves authority, released a total of 150,000 tons of copper, aluminum and zinc from the national reserves, marking the fourth release this year.
During the third quarter, China released three batches of copper, aluminum and zinc totaling 420,000 tons to help boost market supply, ease raw material costs for enterprises and cushion impacts from COVID-19 and floods in some parts of the country.
Experts spoke highly of the government's recent move to ease pressure on rising costs for enterprises, saying more efforts are needed to further support the healthy development of private enterprises, especially SMEs.
Zhou Maohua, an analyst at China Everbright Bank, warned of challenges posed by the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic and mounting uncertainties at home and abroad, saying more efforts should be made to guide financial institutions to support the development of SMEs and key fields while ensuring stable commodity supplies and prices.
Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics, said the think tank expects policymakers to take additional steps to support growth in the coming months.
"We expect senior policymakers to stress growth and to call for the pursuit of climate targets on a more measured timeline. As a result, we expect the electricity shortages and most production cuts to be eased in the coming months. The steps we expect to ease the electricity shortages and production cuts will also support growth," Kuijs said.