IMF Staff Completes 2020 Article IV Mission to the People’s Republic of China
November 4, 2020
End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board. Based on the preliminary findings of this mission, staff will prepare a report that, subject to management approval, will be presented to the IMF’s Executive Board for discussion and decision.
- The Chinese economy continues its fast recovery from the pandemic, helped by a strong containment effort and swift policy actions early on to mitigate the crisis and support the recovery. GDP growth is projected at 1.9 percent in 2020 and 8.2 percent in 2021.
- Moderately expansionary macroeconomic policies in 2021 will help a balanced recovery, supported by a shift from public to private demand. Further structural reforms can help contain financial risks, promote greener and more inclusive growth, and reduce external imbalances.
- China can help the international community to overcome several of the major challenges facing the global economy, by supporting international efforts to expand access to a vaccine, providing debt relief to low-income countries and sustainable financing for global infrastructure investment, and tackling climate change.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Mr. Helge Berger, Mission
Chief for China and Assistant Director of the Asia and Pacific Department,
conducted discussions virtually on the 2020 Article IV Consultation from
October 26 to November 4, 2020. The mission held highly constructive and
candid discussions with senior officials from the government, the People’s
Bank of China, private sector representatives, and academics to exchange
views on economic prospects, reform progress and challenges, and policy
The IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Geoffrey Okamoto, joined the
policy discussions and met with People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang,
China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) Chairman Yi Huiman, and China
Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) Vice Chairman Zhou
At the end of the virtual visit, Mr. Okamoto issued the following
“The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted significant human and economic costs
on China, but a major containment effort has helped contain the spread of
the virus, and macroeconomic and financial policies have mitigated the
crisis’ impact and quickly returned the economy to growth. Despite the
crisis, important reforms continued, including steps taken to further open
the financial sector, advance Hukou reform, and improve intellectual
property protection. Our discussions focused on the authorities’ policy mix
to secure balanced growth against the headwinds from the global pandemic.
“The Chinese economy continues its fast recovery, with GDP growth projected
at 1.9 percent in 2020 and 8.2 percent in 2021. Core inflation is expected
to remain subdued, leaving CPI inflation in 2021 below the pre-crisis
target of about 3 percent.
“While the recovery is advancing, growth remains unbalanced as it relies
heavily on public support while private consumption is lagging. The outlook
faces downside risks, stemming from rising financial vulnerabilities and
the increasingly challenging external environment.
“To secure a balanced recovery, macroeconomic policies need to remain
supportive and their effectiveness enhanced. Fiscal policy should stay
slightly expansionary, shifting from spending on infrastructure towards
strengthening social safety nets and promoting green investment. With
public debt already high and rising, fiscal policy will be more effective
when underpinned by an improved macro-fiscal framework and
intergovernmental coordination, while leveraging digital technologies to
deliver support to vulnerable groups.
“Given low inflation, monetary policy should remain accommodative, which
will also support the fiscal effort. Further modernization of the monetary
policy framework to strengthen the effectiveness of conventional interest
rate policies would help improve credit intermediation. Continued exchange
rate flexibility will be essential to facilitate adjustment to changing
“To safeguard stability, the authorities are monitoring financial
vulnerabilities closely. As the recovery takes hold, exceptional financial
support measures to avoid a credit squeeze should be replaced with
proactive efforts to address problem loans and strengthen regulatory and
supervisory frameworks. A comprehensive bank restructuring framework will
lower systemic risks and continue de-risking.
“Simultaneous implementation of additional key reforms—including a further
opening up of domestic markets, reforming state-owned enterprises (SOEs),
and ensuring competitive neutrality with private firms while promoting
green investment and strengthening social safety nets—will support a
job-rich and balanced recovery. These reforms will also help boost
potential growth, reduce external imbalances, and build a more resilient,
greener, and more inclusive economy.
“China can help the international community overcome several of the major
challenges facing the global economy. This includes supporting
international efforts to expand access to a vaccine, providing debt relief
to low-income countries and sustainable financing for global infrastructure
investment, and tackling climate change. China and its trading partners
should work together to build a more open, stable, and transparent,
rules-based international trade and investment system.
“We would like to thank the authorities for the excellent discussions and
support which made this virtual Article IV visit possible.”
IMF Communications Department
PRESS OFFICER: Ting Yan
Phone: +1 202 623-7100Email: MEDIA@IMF.org