In the past few decades, China’s economic development has made great achievements, but now it is at a very critical turning point-from the first century’s goal of "building a well-off society in an all-round way" to the second century’s goal of "building a socialist modern power".
Compared with the early 40 years of reform and opening up, there will be three major changes in China’s economy in the next 30 years:
First, the cost advantage is no longer. China’s economic development once benefited from the low cost advantage for a long time, but now the cost has obviously increased. The economic growth mode will have to move from extensive and factor-input growth to innovation-driven growth.
Second, the demographic dividend has disappeared. In the past, China benefited from the increasing proportion of the labor force in the total population, but now it is an aging society, and the labor force population begins to decline, which will eventually affect the economic growth pattern.
Third, the trend of "anti-globalization" has emerged. The wave of globalization has obviously promoted China’s economic development in the past. China has been able to participate in the global division of labor, and its exports have increased substantially. A large number of foreign direct investments have enhanced the activity of the domestic economy. Nowadays, globalization is experiencing fluctuations, and the size of China’s economy has also increased significantly, so the growth momentum has to focus more on the domestic market. Therefore, the central government proposes to build a new development pattern with "double circulation"-with domestic big circulation as the main body and domestic and international double circulation promoting each other.
Finance should give more support to the real economy.
Under the new development pattern, how does finance act?
In the past four decades, finance has contributed greatly to economic growth, effectively supporting the average annual GDP growth rate of more than 9%, and the financial system is relatively stable. Although many scholars believe that the reform can be further deepened and the distortions in the system can be eliminated, on the whole, China’s financial system has effectively supported the rapid and relatively stable economic development.
In recent years, complaints against the financial industry have increased, especially "the strength of financial support for the real economy is weakening". In this regard, the most intuitive reflection is the decline in the "marginal capital output rate". The so-called marginal capital output rate refers to the amount of capital that needs to be increased when one unit of output is increased. Before the global financial crisis in 2007, China’s marginal capital output rate was about 3.5, but it has almost doubled at present, indicating that our financial efficiency has been discounted. If the financial efficiency continues to decline, even if the financial resources invested in economic construction continue to increase, the economic output will not be high or even decline, which will ultimately affect the sustainability of economic growth.
In the past, China’s financial system was relatively stable, but in recent years, risks in many financial fields began to emerge. We have two "magic weapons" to maintain financial stability. One is to resolve risks through sustained high growth; Second, the government should do everything to ensure the confidence of investors, consumers and other markets. However, the effectiveness of these two magic weapons is obviously declining, and the next step must be to make great efforts to build a financial safety network, which should not only have a market-oriented regulatory framework, but also involve the central bank and the financial sector.
There is a lot of work that finance can do to support the real economy more effectively, especially based on the new development pattern of "double cycle". Finance should strive to promote the domestic big cycle, and the practice can be linked from "supply" and "demand".
China’s economic growth in the past benefited from "two ends in the outside"-raw materials, technology and capital were introduced from abroad, products were produced and processed at home, and then bought back abroad. But this model will become increasingly difficult in the future. On the one hand, China’s economy is getting bigger and bigger. As some market participants have said, China enterprises "buy what is expensive;" What to sell, what is cheap. " On the other hand, large size also has obvious advantages. In the future, it is possible for the domestic market to continuously reduce the pressure of "two heads are outside", and both "supply" and "demand" are solved in the domestic market. Therefore, the key question is how finance can link "supply" and "demand" to support economic innovation and growth.
Supply side: Finance should strongly support economic innovation.
From the supply side, the core issue is to change the growth model and make innovation the main driving force for growth. Innovation is becoming more and more important to enhance the competitiveness of our economy in the domestic and international markets. Although the domestic market will be the main market in the future, we should remain open to the international market, and the industry must have international competitiveness in order to develop sustainably.
Our financial system used to effectively support extensive and factor-input economic growth. The economic activities under this growth model face relatively little uncertainty, and the products may have been abroad for decades or even hundreds of years. The uncertainties we face in many aspects such as technology, market, management and marketing channels are very low, and financial services are relatively easy to do, especially the pressure of risk management is not great.
If the financial future wants to strongly support economic innovation, the difficulty of managing risks will surge. Because innovation is bound to face many uncertainties, uncertainty will definitely increase the requirements for financial services.
If the economic growth model is to change, the financial development model must also change accordingly. To support economic innovation, finance should do two things: financial innovation and market-oriented reform.
Financial innovation includes three aspects:
First, develop the capital market and increase the proportion of direct financing. The prominent feature of China’s financial system is that banks are dominant. The biggest market participant in the financial system is commercial banks. Commercial banks have previously provided funds for large-scale manufacturing expansion, effectively supporting rapid economic growth. Generally speaking, the capital market has inherent advantages in supporting innovation, such as being better at identifying risks and patiently accompanying entrepreneurs to grow up. Therefore, the primary task of financial innovation is to develop the capital market and increase the proportion of direct financing. From the international experience, the leading financial systems in the United States, Britain and other countries are dominated by the capital market. We are already doing this kind of work, and we need to continue and increase our efforts in the future.
Second, innovate the business model of commercial banks. In the foreseeable future, commercial banks will remain our main financial channel, so it is necessary to innovate the business model of commercial banks in order to undertake the task of supporting economic innovation. There are also many successful examples of bank-led financial system innovation in the world. Germany and Japan are both bank-led financial systems, which have effectively helped enterprises master the international frontier economic technology. At present, the road of banking business model innovation in China has a long way to go.
Third, develop digital finance. With the help of digital technology, finance can better serve the financing needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, private enterprises, especially "specialized and innovative" enterprises. For these enterprises, traditional financial institutions usually lack effective means of risk control, but now big data can help solve some problems. At present, some successful examples are some new Internet banks-Weizhong Bank, Online Merchant Bank, Xinwang Bank, etc. These institutions mainly look at data, not collateral, and can successfully control the average non-performing rate at a low level. If we popularize this method to traditional banks and help them do risk analysis on direct financing of listed companies, it means that we may explore a new way in this respect. In fact, China’s use of big data for credit risk management has been at the forefront of the international level.
In addition to financial innovation, financial support for economic innovation is inseparable from market-oriented reforms, one of which is market-oriented risk pricing.
China government has made great efforts to reduce the financing costs of SMEs, but the risks and costs must be matched to be sustainable. It is very important to support the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises and help them obtain loans, but at the same time, we should also pay attention to market-based risk pricing. Only in this way can commercial banks continue to carry out their business.
From the supply side, only by carrying out a series of reforms can finance better support economic innovation.
Demand side: Finance should strongly support consumption.
From the demand side, the so-called "troika"-investment, consumption and export, investment and export have been very strong, and consumption is relatively weak. After the global financial crisis, consumption has rebounded, but it is still dragging its feet, especially during the epidemic period, the economic recovery is weak, and key consumption can not get up, which seriously restricts the domestic macro-cycle.
Consumption is sluggish, and even if you invest a lot, it will easily become overcapacity. At the same time, the sluggish consumption is also contrary to the goal of the second century. The fundamental purpose of economic construction is to continuously meet the people’s needs for a better life, and only by increasing the consumption of ordinary people can we meet the standards.
At present, China’s consumption accounts for about 55% of GDP, which is about 20 percentage points lower than the world average and 25-30 percentage points lower than that of Britain and the United States.
Why is consumption sluggish or less than expected? There are three reasons:
First of all, the proportion of our residents’ income to GDP is not high, and the people are too dependent on labor income and lack asset income;
Secondly, the inequality of social income distribution is high, and the rich have a low propensity to consume, and most of them have bought what they should buy; The poor tend to spend more, but they have no money to spend. Therefore, the inequality of income distribution suppresses the total demand of social consumption;
Finally, the social security system needs to be further improved. Without social security, residents’ confidence in the future is insufficient, and everyone is afraid to spend more if they have money.
If these problems are solved, China’s future consumption can still be expected. At present, the total social retail sales in China is very impressive from a global perspective. If the consumption potential of 1.4 billion people can be further released and sustainable economic growth can be maintained in the future, China is expected to become the most desirable consumption market in the world.
At present, there is a lot of work to be done in consumption. We not only need the government to improve income distribution and improve the social security system, but also have huge room for finance. For example, the financial system can improve efficiency, thereby increasing the total social income, so that ordinary people can get asset income other than labor wages, so that more money can be used for consumption; For another example, we can vigorously develop inclusive finance, so that small and medium-sized enterprises, low-income families and agricultural workers in a weak position can obtain corresponding financial services and make the income distribution of the whole society more equal; Also, we can develop the financial industry, especially the insurance industry, and make the social security system more perfect.
To sum up, whether from the supply side or the demand side, finance has great potential to support the development of the real economy, innovative growth, consumption upgrading and a better life. As long as we have a good grasp of the direction of financial development, improve the efficiency of the financial system, and successfully control risks, finance will play a greater role in the new development pattern of "double cycle", thus helping us achieve the second century goal smoothly.
(The author is Professor, Vice President and Director of Digital Finance Research Center of National Development Institute of Peking University)