China insurance regulator relaxes rules on infrastructure investment to aid economy


China’s insurance regulator has revised rules to make it easier for insurance companies to invest in infrastructure projects in a bid to support a slow economy and create investment opportunities in an environment of low returns.

Insurers will no longer need to obtain regulatory approval to invest in infrastructure, and their scope of investment will also be expanded, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) said on its website on Sunday.

The CIRC said that since 2006, insurers have invested a total of 893.83 billion yuan ($134.32 billion) into infrastructure projects, but rules needed to be revised to reflect changes on the ground.

Currently, insures can only invest in infrastructure in five industries including transportation, telecommunications, energy, municipal projects and environmental protection.

The move would “satisfy insurers’ need to allocate their assets, to relieve their pressure in the current low-yield environment where there’s a shortage of quality assets,” CIRC said in a statement, adding it would also “support and stabilize the economy.”

The revised rules also introduced more risk-management measures, and regulators will give the market more power in allocating insurers’ money into infrastructure projects, according to the CIRC. ($1 = 6.6547 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam


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