China postpones major annual financial forum in Shanghai

The delay comes amid a fresh wave of COVID-19 outbreaks in cities including Shenzhen and Chengdu, as China prepares for a five-year ruling Communist Party congress on October 17, where the president Xi Jinping is set to win a historic third term in office.

The Lujiazui Forum has been delayed from the original Wednesday and Thursday dates, the Shanghai Municipal Financial Regulatory Bureau said in a statement, without giving new dates or saying whether recent outbreaks were a factor behind the this decision.

“This year’s Lujiazui Forum is delayed due to the need to deepen the topics (of the event),” he added.

The annual event is co-hosted by the city government and major financial regulators, such as the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), and China Securities Commission securities and regulation.

First held in 2008 and traditionally scheduled for June, this year it was delayed by Shanghai’s two-month COVID-19 lockdown.

Speakers last year included CBIRC chief Guo Shuqing and Pan Gongsheng, PBOC deputy governor and head of the foreign exchange regulator.

This year’s theme was the role of finance in the steady growth of the global economy, with topics ranging from financial openness to regulation, the forum’s website said.

Late last month, authorities in Shanghai urged organizers to postpone or scale back conferences and exhibitions, to bolster COVID prevention efforts.

The Beijing auto show and sports tournaments, such as the Diamond League athletic meet, are among the events in China postponed or canceled this year due to COVID-19.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Melvin B. Baillie