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China able to cope with Fed policy tapering - central bank head

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will be able to cope with a possible shock if the U.S. Federal Reserve opts to taper its stimulus policy, central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan said in comments published on Thursday.

Market speculation is building for the U.S. Federal Reserve to start tapering its stimulus programme as early as this month, with the next Fed policy meeting set for September 17 and 18.

"In the face of a possible shock, China will ensure vitality and resilience of the micro-economy and maintain flexible policies," Zhou was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying on the sidelines of a meeting of the Group of 20 developed and developing countries in Russia.

"China has enough counter-measures and has made some preparations from the beginning," Zhou said without elaborating.

Zhou cautioned against any complacency due to the spill-over impact from ultra-loose policies in the United States and other developed countries.

"China cannot be immune if there is sharp volatility in the global financial markets," Zhou added.

The BRICS emerging economies will set up a $100-billion (64 billion pounds) fund to steady currency markets, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, but it looks unlikely to be in place soon enough to temper the effects of an expected pullback of U.S. monetary stimulus.

China, with the world's largest foreign exchange reserves of around $3.5 trillion, will contribute a share of the fund.

Cheap dollars that fuelled a boom in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa over the past decade have turned tail since Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, warned in May of a 'taper' in the U.S. bond-buying scheme.

Yi Gang, a deputy governor of the Chinese central bank, has called for Asian countries strengthen financial ties to head off risks stemming from any U.S. tapering of its stimulus programme.

(Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Kevin Yao; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)