The central bank announced a measure Tuesday evening that would make it easier for commercial banks to keep lending, a move that would tend to support continued economic growth and that could indicate concern on the bank’s part. The central bank, the People’s Bank of China, said that it was reducing by a full percentage point the reserves that commercial banks are required to deposit with it, freeing up more cash for commercial banks to lend to businesses and households.
Another measure experts look to for insight into China’s economy is trade, which at one time was a major driver of Chinese growth. Over the last decade, however, it has been far eclipsed in importance by Chinese investment and household spending.
The latest figures show exports to the United States are growing considerably faster than China’s purchases of American goods. That could provoke more ire from President Trump, who had threatened to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese products.
The trade figures present a mixed picture of how painful those tariffs could be for China. Over all, trade is not as important to China’s economy as it was a decade ago, suggesting the country could better weather a trade fight. But the data also suggests China’s exports to the United States, specifically, have become more valuable to China’s economy as it increasingly makes most — or even all — of the parts that go inside what it sells abroad.