Banking

Liquidity is sufficient but debt risk control needs to be addressed。

China's chief banking regulator Shang Fulin soothed a jittery market on Saturday, saying there is more than "sufficient" liquidity in the interbank market. He also pledged to strengthen debt risk control.

China's biggest lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) said here Saturday that its Middle Eastearn branch achieved in 2012 a pre-tax profit of $54 million, up 69 percent year on year, while its total assets increased 29 percent to $4 billion.

ICBC, the world's biggest bank in terms of market capital, added that the Chinese RMB's trade volume reached $2.25 billion, while greenback transactions in the interbank money market were up 718 percent last year to hit $11.07 billion. The total liabilities reached $3.81 billion, an increase of 28 percent over 2011.  

Tian Zhiping, regional CEO of Dubai-based ICBC Middle East, said that 2012 was another year of strong growth for them the company continued to benefit from its regional franchise and unique position as a bridge for trade and investment between the Middle East and China. "We have taken part in important syndications and witnessed growing volumes of RMB transactions, all of which added to our business growth."

China postal bank Tao Liming

Bosses of China's postal bank and a regional city lender are among the latest financial bigwigs caught up in spreading corruption investigations.

Postal Savings Bank Gov. Tao Liming is "assisting an investigation by relevant authorities into a personal 'economic problem'," the bank said in an announcement Monday, using the usual euphemism in China for graft allegations.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) (London) plc said on Monday it would work on boosting off-shore trading of Chinese currency RMB, also known as yuan, here in Europe.

Xu Jinlei, general manager of ICBC London, said ICBC London would work hard to develop itself into a European center of off-shore RMB trading, syndicated loans, trade finance, and capital and precious metal trading, to provide high-quality financial service for clients worldwide.

He made the comments during the inauguration ceremony of ICBC's new headquarters in the City of London.

As China progressively introduces policies favoring a market-based currency exchange rate, it is also moving to accelerate the liberalization of interest rates, probably starting with lending rates.

In an interview with Caijing magazine, People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said the government could relax controls on lending rates first.

His remarks were published on the magazine's website on Monday. Caijing said the interview took place "recently".

Zhou said the government could then liberalize deposit rates gradually by encouraging the development of alternative liability products and widening the fluctuation band for deposit rates.