A top Chinese economist has advised the central bank to print around £230bn worth of extra cash a year over the next decade, in a bid to incentivise the population to have more children.
The capital would be used to subsidise housing costs, as well as build more childcare facilities, chief economist at SooChow Securities Ren Zeping added.
The so-called “birth fund” seeks to remedy China’s falling birth rate and ageing population, after it recorded its lowest birth rate in decades in 2020.
The plan, while costly, could lead to an additional 50m babies being born by 2032, Ren calculated.
“It’s not a spur-of-the-moment suggestion, but one based on our past studies, following years of research, exploration and comparison with international experiences,” Ren wrote on Chinese website Weibo. “It’s been scientifically argued. We are serious with this suggestion.”
Ren’s team warned that the number of birth’s last year could have fallen to around 10m, down from the 12m born in 2020 and the 14.6m in 2019.
“Don’t count on those born in the 1990s or after 2000. The number of women of childbearing age in our country is decreasing by three to four million a year,” the Suzhou-based team added.
“In the past, we have printed money to stimulate the property market, leaving behind high housing costs. If we should change to print money to encourage births, we will leave behind a generation of young people.”
However, state-run news site The Paper called the plan “futile”, adding that it would “have a chain reaction on price, currency value and asset evaluation”.
“As an economist, Ren Zeping cannot be ignorant of this. Yet, he still put forward a public suggestion lacking common sense, and it can be only said he has done this on purpose to attract attention,” wrote The Paper.