BEIJING, May 12 -- China's new yuan-denominated lending amounted to 774.7 billion yuan (124.2 billion U.S. dollars) in April, substantially less than 1.05 trillion yuan in March, central bank data showed on Monday.
On a year-on-year basis, the volume was down 17.6 billion yuan, said the People's Bank of China (PBOC) in an online statement.
However, the growth of M2, a broad measure of money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, rebounded in April to 13.2 percent from 12.1 percent for March.
The M2 totalled 116.88 trillion yuan at the end of April, the bank said.
The narrow measure of money supply (M1), which covers cash in circulation plus demand deposits, expanded 5.5 percent to 32.45 trillion yuan as of the end of last month.
China's total social financing (TSF), a broad measure of liquidity in the economy, declined to 1.55 trillion yuan in April from 2.07 trillion yuan in March. The TSF aggregate reached 7.18 trillion yuan in the first four months.
The latest data came amid increasing signs of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy, which together with low inflation, has fanned speculation that the government will ease monetary policies.
China's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, increased 1.8percent year on year in April, official data showed.
The economy grew by 7.4 percent in the first quarter this year, down from 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 and marking the lowest quarterly growth level since the third quarter of 2012.
Lu Ting, China economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said the credit data was "broadly in line with market expectation" and reflects "relatively stable credit and money growth".
The data was expected to have limited market impact, as "the decline in headline new loans and TSF data is mainly a reflection of seasonality," the economist said in a research note.
The mixed data also pointed to the policy stance of the PBOC which saw no need for a major easing of monetary policies, Lu said.
"The PBOC could keep ample liquidity, lower financing costs and support credit growth in certain areas, such as in rural China, a part of the government's growth-supportive measures," he said.
As for the possibility of the central bank cutting the required reserve ratio (RRR) for banks, Lu said, "The chance for a universal cut is still small given the still low interbank rates, but the PBOC has room to promptly cut RRR if necessary."
China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on Saturday in a forum in Beijing that the country will not take a hasty decision to roll out large-scale stimulus policies.
Zhou also denied speculation that the central bank might cut RRR, saying it would only fine-tune monetary policies.