(Bloomberg) --

China will cut the amount of cash banks have to keep in reserve to aid smaller firms, which have been struggling as the economy slows, the Premier Li Keqiang said Friday, although he didn’t say when the reduction would happen.

The central bank will reduce the reserve requirement ratio at the appropriate time, Li said in a Friday meeting with International Monetary Fund head Kristalina Georgieva, according to Chinese state television. The last cut to the RRR in July happened two days after the state council announced it was considering the possibility. 

China’s economy has come under increasing pressure from a deepening housing market slump, but so far authorities have been restrained in supporting the economy with new policies this year, holding banks’ RRR unchanged since July and maintained a measured pace of fiscal spending. Officials recently stepped up targeted support for small businesses, and aread like green technology and manufacturing. 

However, the People’s Bank of China signaled an easing bias in the latest monetary policy report last month, while the State Council urged local governments to speed up spending. The comments from Li indicate that the central bank is looking to increase support, although it’s unclear how much money any decision would actually free up for extra lending. 

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.