World News

Chinese firms implemented $203 billion debt-to-equity swaps in 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese firms implemented 1.4 trillion yuan ($203 billion) in debt-to-equity swaps and disposed of 2 trillion yuan in soured debt last year as they moved to allay financial risk, the country’s banking and insurance regulator said on Monday.

Resolving financial risk will remain China’s top priority in 2020, Huang Hong, the vice chairman of China’s Banking and Insurance Regulatory Committee (CBIRC), told a press conference in Beijing.

This year the regulator will prioritize cleaning up the assets of financial groups built upon “wrongdoing”, dismantling shadow banking, preventing illegal credit flowing into the property market and curbing property bubbles, Huang said.

It will also work with the central bank on cutting down risk at institutions besides the Baoshang, Jinzhou and Hengfeng banks taken over by the regulator or introduced to strategic investors last year, CBIRC spokesman Xiao Yuanqi said.

Financial risks related to Baoshang and the liquidity situation of smaller banks and non-bank institutions will keep being monitored, according to a separate Monday filing from the Shanghai branch of the central bank.

(Reporting by Yawen Chen, Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo; Editing by Toby Chopra and Jan Harvey)