China bank loans nearly double in August

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BEIJING: China’s bank lending nearly doubled in August from the previous month, central bank data showed on Friday, rebounding towards what analysts described as a normal level.

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Chinese banks granted 702.5 billion yuan ($114.5 billion) in new loans last month, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement, nearly twice July’s 385.2 billion yuan.

But it was still lower than June’s 1.08 trillion yuan and 10.3 billion yuan less than the amount recorded a year ago, PBoC data showed.

Shen Jianguang, a Hong Kong-based economist, said August’s figure, although still “relatively low” represented a “close-to-standard” monthly level given analysts’ consensus that the government wants to see 10 trillion yuan lent this year.

“It reflected limited relaxing of monetary policy, which was targeted and not aggressive,” he told Agence France-Presse.

Premier Li Keqiang has said that the government would not seek to boost economic growth by pumping up credit growth.

“There is already a large amount of money in the pool. It’s impossible for us to continue to rely on issuing new bank notes to stimulate economic growth,” Li said this week, according to an earlier report by the state-run Securities Daily.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, an analyst with research firm Capital Economics, welcomed the slower credit growth.

“It is necessary to put China’s growth on a more sustainable long-run trajectory,” he wrote in a research note.

Shen said August’s lending figure also showed soft demand for loans as the property market remained sluggish, which was among the reasons for the slump in new loans in July.

“The economy’s major problem is weakness in the property sector,” he said.

Real estate is a key driver of economic growth and a major source of revenues for local government, but China’s new home prices fell for the fourth consecutive month in August.

Total social financing, a broader gauge of credit in the overall economy, reached 957.4 billion yuan in August, the PBoC said, more than tripling the 273.1 billion yuan in July.

AFP

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