January lending nears 1.3t yuan despite curbs

10:31, February 10, 2010      

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Bank lending may exceed 1.3 trillion yuan in January despite the government-imposed credit clampdown on the potential risk of inflation and asset bubbles, analysts said.

"We see January net new lending at about 1.35 trillion yuan... the slower loan growth is mainly the result of early government action to control lending," said Wang Tao, head of China economic research at UBS Securities.

China's new loan data is under market scrutiny this year after record credit expansion last year drove recovery in the country's slowing economy. The central bank is scheduled to release January loan figures this week.

That estimation is expected to be below the 1.62 trillion yuan in new loans that Chinese banks advanced in January last year, which is largely due to the government's tightening grip on bank lending.

"The slowdown in lending following the regulator's massive clampdown is generally in line with market expectations," said Fu Lichun, a banking analyst at Southwest Securities.

Fu expects no reduction in loans entering the economy in January compared with a year ago, as bill financing accounted for a big chunk of new loans issued last year.

In the face of rising inflationary concerns, the central bank raised the proportion of deposits banks must set aside as reserves earlier this month.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank, the nation's top two lenders, have set their annual loan targets at some 9,000 trillion yuan and 7,500 trillion yuan respectively this year, sources said.

According to the central bank's loan quota mechanism, banks are required to stay within a set target and not lend more than 30 percent of that amount in each of the first two quarters, one source said.

"These tightening measures are not aimed at controlling the scale of lending for the whole year, but to balance the pace of lending to avoid overheating the economy in the first half of 2010," Sun Mingchun, Nomura's chief China economist, said in a research note.

Source:China Daily
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