Yesterday, China's Central Bank reduced bank reserve requirements for large banks by 50 basis points to 19.5 percent. The Chinese know that the nominal level of national income is determined by the magnitude of the money supply. They also know that banks produce the lion's share of China's money. Indeed, banks produce 77 percent of China's M2 money.
As shown in the accompanying chart, the average annual growth rate of China's money supply since January 2004 has been 17.45 percent. At present, the annual growth rate for the money supply has slumped to 11 percent. China's reduction in the banks' reserve requirements is designed to push money growth back up towards the trend rate so that an economic slump is avoided. China has made the right move.