【英语中国】中国证监会的救市压力 Watchdog feels heat over stock market rescue

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2015-7-13 15:45

小艾摘要: What began at the weekend as a behind-the-scenes effort by China’s undergunned markets regulator to reassure skittish investors, has become an all-out push by the Communist party to safeguard its 25- ...
Watchdog feels heat over stock market rescue
What began at the weekend as a behind-the-scenes effort by China’s undergunned markets regulator to reassure skittish investors, has become an all-out push by the Communist party to safeguard its 25-year experiment with capital markets reform.

But many financial industry insiders and analysts say the China Securities Regulatory Commission and Xiao Gang, its chairman and a veteran banker, are on the hook if it does not succeed.

So far, CSRC’s gambit does not appear to be working. Fred Hu at Primavera Capital says: “The policy makers face a dilemma. They are trying to do everything at their disposal to stabilise the market, but it has left the impression that they have overreacted.”

One person who deals closely with the regulator says: “The CSRC has evolved enormously over time, but it has a lot of relatively inexperienced people who are not well paid and don’t have a lot of international experience.”

According to CSRC’s 2014 annual report, the average age of its 3,167 employees is 36. In 2012, a state newspaper reported that CSRC department heads, who were paid about Rmb150,000 ($24,150) a year, could earn Rmb1m in the private sector.

Yesterday China’s banking regulator and even its public security ministry officially entered the fray, joining CSRC and the central bank, which on Wednesday committed at least Rmb260bn to stabilise the rout on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission announced that it would allow banks to extend loans backed by share collateral, while the official Xinhua news agency reported that the head of China’s internal security forces had visited CSRC’s headquarters as part of a crackdown on “malicious” short selling and other “illegal” market activities.

The double-barrelled display had some effect, with Shanghai and Shenzhen up 5 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively after the lunchtime break yesterday. China shares remain about 30 per cent below their seven-year high reached just under four weeks ago.

Among the measures backed by the CSRC was a decision by China’s leading brokerage association to draw not a line in the sand so much as a line in the air. The Securities Association of China said its members would support the market until Shanghai returned to 4,500 points — 20 per cent above its current level.

According to people close to China’s financial policy makers, the CSRC did not initially enjoy the full support of its peers — including the finance ministry and Lou Jiwei, its head — at the outset of the crisis.

They note that Mr Lou, who formerly ran China’s sovereign wealth fund, is already preoccupied with the build-up in debts by local governments, which total Rmb22tn. The last thing he wants is involvement in another rescue effort, especially one for investors who recklessly piled into a bull market that rose 150 per cent in the 12 months to June.

Zhou Xiaochuan, the long-serving head of China’s central bank, is also considered one of the country’s most prominent reformers. His institution is pressing ahead with a campaign to internationalise the renminbi and bolster its credentials as a reserve currency, which could be jeopardised by the crisis.

“This is not a homogeneous group,” says one person who advises Beijing

policy makers. “Some were worried about moral hazard and thought the CSRC should have looked at [the

bubble] earlier.”

While the CSRC issued a statement on Sunday night that the People’s Bank of China would support brokers after an emergency State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, the central bank did not confirm its involvement until Wednesday morning. The finance ministry also only added its pledge to “protect market stability” on Wednesday.

Ye Tan, an independent financial commentator, says officials who were initially reluctant to join the CSRC’s rescue effort were “only there to get some soy sauce” — a phrase used, for example, by onlookers at traffic accidents to say that the commotion has nothing to do with them.

“This is how China works,” says the person close to policy making circles. “Everyone has their own job description and has a lot on their plate already.”

Above all, the ministries and regulators that have belatedly added their shoulders to the CSRC’s plough want to make sure they are not held accountable if the rescue effort fails.

“I’m expecting that someone will

pay a price for this,” says the person close to the CSRC. “There will be a sacrifice, I’m sure.”

Additional reporting by Wan Li

火力有限的中国市场监管机构在上周末为安抚投资者做出的幕后动作,已升级为共产党为保卫其25年资本市场改革实验而采取的全力以赴的行动。

但是,许多金融业内人士和分析师称,如果救市未能成功,中国证券监督管理委员会(CSRC)和其主席、资深银行家肖钢将承担后果。

到目前为止,中国证监会采取的措施似乎并未奏效。春华资本(Primavera Capital)的胡祖六(Fred Hu)表示:“政策制定者面临着两难境地。他们正试图采取一切可以采取的行动来稳定市场,但他们给人留下了反应过度的印象。”

与中国证监会密切打交道的一名人士表示:“证监会这些年来已经有很大发展,但它有很多相对缺乏经验的人员,他们的薪资待遇不怎么样,也没有多少国际经验。”

根据中国证监会的2014年年报,其3167名雇员的平均年龄是36岁。在2012年,一官方报纸曾报道,中国证监会的部门负责人年薪大约为15万元人民币(合2.415万美元),而如果在私营部门工作,他们一年可挣100万元人民币。

昨日,中国银行业监管机构,甚至公安部都正式步入战场,加入中国证监会和中国央行的行列。中国央行周三承诺投入至少2600亿元人民币遏止上海和深圳股市的跌势。

中国银行业监督管理委员会(CBRC)宣布,将允许银行对股票质押贷款展期,同时官方的新华社报道称,公安部高官带队到证监会,会同证监会排查“恶意”做空的线索,显示当局要打击“违法”市场活动。

这一双管齐下的努力收到了一定效果,昨日午间休市后,上海和深圳股市分别上涨5%和3.7%。目前中国股市仍比三周多前触及的7年高点低30%左右。

在中国证监会支持的措施中,有一项措施来自中国券商协会,该协会与其说在沙地上画出一条线,不如说是在空气中画出了一条线。中国证券业协会(Securities Association of China)表示,其会员将支撑市场,直到上证综指回升至4500点,比目前水平高20%。

据接近中国金融政策制定者的知情人士透露,本次危机刚爆发时,中国证监会并没有得到其他部门(包括中国财政部和财政部长楼继伟)的全面支持。

他们指出,之前执掌中国主权财富基金的楼继伟,已经被地方政府积累的总计22万亿元人民币债务搞得忙不过来。他最不想参与的事情就是又一波救助努力,尤其是救助不顾一切地涌入牛市的投资者。在截至6月的12个月里,中国股市上涨150%。

长期执掌中国央行的周小川,也被认为是中国最突出的改革者之一。在他领导下,中国央行正在推进人民币国际化、加强其作为一种储备货币的资格的努力,而股市危机可能危及这方面的努力。

“这不是一个铁板一块的群体,”向北京的政策制定者提供建议的一名人士表示。“有些人担心道德风险,并认为中国证监会应该早一点留意(股市泡沫)。”

中国总理李克强主持召开国务院紧急会议后,中国证监会在上周日晚上宣布,中国央行将支持券商。但中国央行到周三上午才证实其介入。中国财政部也到周三才加入承诺“维护市场稳定”的行列。

独立财经评论员叶檀表示,最初不愿意加入中国证监会救市努力的官员们“只是在那里打一点酱油”——交通事故的围观者会用这个短语说明事情与他们无关。

“这就是中国的运作方式,”前述接近中国政策制定圈子的人士表示。“每个人都有自己的职责范围,各人要对付的事情已经够多了。”

最重要的是,姗姗来迟加入中国证监会救市努力的部委和监管机构希望确保这样一点:如果救市努力失败,他们不会被追究责任。

“我预期有人会为此付出代价,”接近中国证监会的知情人士称。“将会有一个牺牲品,我敢肯定。”

万丽补充报道

译者/何黎

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