BEIJING, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, underscored that China should deepen supply-side structural reform in the financial sector and strengthen the sector's ability to serve the real economy.
Xi made the remarks when presiding over a group study session of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau Friday afternoon.
The country should keep a fine balance between maintaining growth and forestalling risks and deal with risks in key areas in a targeted and effective manner, he said, adding that China should deepen opening-up of the financial sector.
Xie Duo, Party secretary and chairman of Silk Road Fund Co., Ltd, briefed on the issue and made suggestions.
Xi pointed out that finance is a core competitiveness of a country, financial security is an important part of national security, and the financial system is a major fundamental system in the process of economic and social development.
While historic achievements have been accomplished in the financial sector since reform and opening-up, the market structure, operation philosophy, innovation capability and the level of service of the sector have yet to meet the requirements for the country's high-quality economic development, Xi said.
The country should push for high-quality development of the sector with a focus on improving financial services and forestalling financial risks, he added.
He also stressed that finance should play its role in serving the real economy, catering to economic and social development while meeting the needs of the people, adding that the economy and finance are interdependent and should grow and thrive together.
To deepen supply-side structural reform in the financial sector, China should implement the new development philosophy and focus on key areas to allow the sector provide better services to the real economy and the people, he said.
Optimizing the financial system should be key, he said, urging improvements in the financing structure as well as in the systems of financial institutions, the market and products.
A multi-level banking system with wide coverage and diverse expertise should be established, while personalized and differentiated financial products that suit market demand should be developed, he said.
The number of small and medium-sized financial institutions as well as their proportion of businesses should be increased, while financial services to the small and micro firms as well as agriculture, rural areas and rural people should be improved, Xi said.
Xi stressed the need to establish a standard, transparent, open, dynamic and resilient capital market that has sound fundamental institutional arrangements, proper management on market access and exit and tightened full-process supervision on transactions.
He said that financial services conducive to the development of industrial, market, regional and green development systems of a modernized economy shall be provided.
An all-around and multi-level financial service system including venture capitals, bank loans and bond and stock markets shall be put in place, he said.
He called on the country to go along with the general development trend of relying more on innovation, creation and creativity to foster a change in the structure and quality of financial services.
When it comes to the support of financially-strained private enterprises, he said that market laws shall be respected more and that targeted financial services are needed.
Private firms who are temporarily in difficulties but engage in businesses that match well with the national industrial development plans or focus on the real economy, possess leading technologies and enjoy an advantage in the market shall be prioritized, he said.
"The healthy development of the real economy is the foundation to prevent and defuse risks," he said, adding that risk prevention must be based on steady economic growth.
He said that the counter-cyclical adjustment roles of fiscal and monetary policies must be strengthened so as to ensure the Chinese economy could run at a reasonable growth range.
"Risk prevention must be done in a way that can push ahead high-quality economic development," he said.
Xi said preventing and defusing financial risks, especially systemic financial risks, are the fundamental tasks of financial work, calling for accelerated construction of the financial market infrastructure and advanced efforts to nationalize key information infrastructure in the sector.
He also urged solid statistics in the financial sector and improvement in the warning system and rules on information disclosure and management.
Education and supervision of senior officials of financial institutions and regulators should be enhanced, and more should be done to fight corruption in the financial sector, Xi said.
He called for dynamic supervision of domestic and cross-border capital flow to enable financial watchdogs to fully monitor all flows.
Xi said tasks for the reform and opening-up of the financial sector should be well implemented, calling for the preparation and the rolling-out of new reform and opening-up measures based on the latest development of global economy and finance as well as the strategic needs of China.
Reforms including revamps on market access system and trading regulations should be deepened, and regulators should take a two-pronged approach of enforcing both macro-prudential management and micromanagement of behaviors, he said.
He said those causing major financial risks due to their breaches such as lax regulation, cover-ups or decision-making failures must be held accountable and face serious punishment.
Efforts should be made to address the current situation where the costs of legal and regulatory breaches in the financial sector, especially capital markets, are too low, Xi said.
Xi urged enhancing the global competitiveness of China's financial sector, elevating the two-way opening-up to a higher level and beefing up capabilities of financial management and risk prevention and control amid greater opening-up.