Foreign execs, analysts bullish on China; see further opening-up |
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Foreign execs, analysts bullish on China; see further opening-up

By JIANG XUEQING and ZHOU LANXU China Daily Updated: 2023-03-07

Senior executives, department heads and economists at global financial institutions are upbeat about China's economic prospects as business activity returns to normal and the nation eyes further high-level opening-up.

Credit Suisse expects China's growth to outpace most other major economies in 2023 as the Chinese economy accelerates after years of interruptions caused by COVID-19.

Janice Hu, China CEO of Credit Suisse, said the optimization of China's COVID-19 policies, its increasingly sophisticated consumers, robust fundamentals and improved sentiment are paving the way for a strong rebound.

The Government Work Report, which was delivered at the opening of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress in Beijing on Sunday, said China should expand market access and continue to open up the modern services sector. It said the country should ensure national treatment for foreign-funded companies.

As an international financial institution, Credit Suisse sees invaluable opportunities for collaboration and growth as China deepens financial opening-up, Hu said, with the company having reached an agreement with its local partner to take full ownership of Credit Suisse Securities (China) Ltd.

Deutsche Bank is bullish on the Chinese market and has forecast an above-consensus GDP increase this year.

With a fast improving outlook for China and global investors becoming more bullish, Deutsche Bank sees big potential this year for its debt underwriting, asset management, investor services and custody businesses.

China's clear decarbonization and clean energy transition targets, alongside financial market liberalization, present huge opportunities for foreign banks, said Samuel Fischer, head of China onshore debt capital markets at Deutsche Bank.

The Government Work Report emphasized the importance of technology and environment to long-term growth. Green and high-tech industries will attract more capital for investments from government support measures as well as from the private sector, so more attention should be given to investments in these two areas, said Iris Pang, chief China economist at Dutch bank ING.

Junjie Watkins, equity partner at Pictet Group and CEO of Asia, excluding Japan, at Pictet Asset Management, said Pictet is particularly upbeat about the secular growth potential in China's environmental sectors given the country's commitment to net zero, and will continue to provide new offerings that capture the abundant opportunities from China's green-themed investment landscape.

Pictet will steadily strengthen its investment and research capabilities in Chinese equities and renminbi bonds as the Swiss firm foresees a positive outlook for China's economy.

China has set its GDP growth target at around 5 percent for this year. Lu Ting, chief China economist at Nomura, said, "The GDP growth target of around 5 percent is a reasonable and rational choice, as China's economy is still set to face multiple headwinds over the course of the year."

Nomura views the target as a "relatively conservative but pragmatic" proposal for delivering a healthy and organic economic recovery. The global financial services group continues to expect China's GDP growth to pick up to 5.3 percent this year from 3 percent last year, said Lu in a research report.

The annual session of the National People's Congress, which began on Sunday, has reaffirmed Chinese policymakers' pro-growth stance set at the Central Economic Work Conference in December, said Ding Shuang, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank.

"We expect the government to continue to prioritize job creation, by normalizing regulation of internet platforms, encouraging the expansion of private business, and attracting and retaining foreign direct investment," said Ding in an article published in China Daily on Monday.