Lending in 2010 expected to slow

07:58, December 08, 2009      

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China's liberal monetary policy will continue next year, but some senior economists are predicting that the number of new loans made could actually be smaller than this year.

State media reports on the closed-door Central Economic Work Conference, concluded Monday, said the government would continue the "positive fiscal policy and moderately easy monetary policy" which has resulted in 8.92 trillion yuan ($1.31 trillion) in loans being made so far this year, up 5.26 trillion yuan ($770 billion) over the same period last year.

New loans for the whole year are expected to top 10 trillion yuan ($1.46 trillion), double the target of 5 trillion yuan ($730 billion) set early this year.

The official People's Daily, a parent publication of the Global Times, Monday quoted a senior economist at a think tank affiliated with the State Council as saying that loans next year could be cut by 20-40 percent compared with the 10 trillion yuan ($1.46 trillion) in new loans expected to be made this year.

Wang Tongsan, head of the Institute of Quantitative and Technical Economics with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said the rapidly changing economic situation calls for a flexible monetary policy. He said the growth in new loans next year should not be slowed too much.

"The infrastructure projects launched after the government's 4 trillion yuan ($585.6 billion) stimulus plan still need loose monetary policy support," Wang said.

Bu Yongxiang, a senior official in the research department of the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, said Wednesday new loans for 2010 might reach 5-7 trillion yuan ($732.3 billion-$1.03 trillion).

The Bank of China will continue lending to key government projects, small- and medium-sized companies and low-cost housing projects, but will cut lending to projects that face overcapacity problems or do not comply with government industrial and environmental policy, it said in a statement on its website Monday.

The government should regulate monetary policy to avoid inflationary pressure caused by the new loans, CASS said in an economic outlook report published Monday.

"The central bank should not hastily regulate the interest rate and bank reserve ratios," Wang was quoted as saying by the People's Daily. "It should carry out more open market operations to maintain adequate and reasonable liquidity of the banking system."

The central bank has used open market operations to decrease the country's money supply by 687 billion yuan ($101 billion) since October.

Source: Global Times
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