Economic Watch: Targeted credit support bolsters growth in China's real economy

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-16 16:45:13|Editor: ZX
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BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- China reported faster-than-expected growth in total social financing and continued decline in off-balance-sheet credit, evidencing progress in government efforts to tame financial risks while maintaining growth.

Latest central bank data showed that newly-added social financing, a measurement of funds that individuals and non-financial firms get from the financial system, rose by 138.3 billion yuan (about 20 billion U.S. dollars) from a year earlier to 2.27 trillion yuan in September, beating analysts forecast.

Within the social financing measure, outstanding non-standardized assets, including trust loans, entrusted loans and banker's acceptance bills, or those often considered as shadow banking activities, declined 113 billion yuan month on month in September, investment bank CICC noted.

The divergence in credit data came as regulators seek to channel funds into sectors where loans are most needed while fending off risks rising from banks' off-balance-sheet financing as well as high leverage in the property sector.

Faced by external uncertainties and a slowdown in economic growth, the country has been stepping up monetary support, especially to the cash-strained small and private enterprises, with a variety of tailored measures.

The central bank on Tuesday reduced the cash that lenders must hold as reserves for some city commercial banks, the first phase of a targeted reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cut that is expected to unleash a total of 100 billion yuan into the market.

The move followed a broad-based RRR reduction in September as well as a lower one-year loan prime rate (LPR), the new benchmark interest rate for new loan issuance since the country revamped the LPR mechanism in August.

"September money supply and total social financing data indicate that some of the short-term growth stabilization measures may be at work," said CICC in a research report.

Ruan Jianhong, head of the Statistics and Analysis Department of the central bank, said that the forecast-beating credit data in September is a combined result of robust financing demand as well as enhanced effectiveness for monetary authorities to channel funds into the real economy.

Central bank data showed that growth in outstanding medium-to-long-term loans to the infrastructure sector as well as that to the high-tech manufacturing sector picked up pace in September, while that to the service sector excluding the real estate industry also registered rapid growth.

"This round of policy stimulus is rather restrained, with tight grip on funds flowing into the property sector," said China Merchant Securities in a research note.

Growth in the outstanding loans to the property sector slowed for a 14th straight month to 15.6 percent at the end of September, while newly-added mortgage loans accounted for 24.1 percent of loans of all kinds in the first three quarters, lower than some 30 percent in the past several years, according to Zhou Xuedong, another official with the central bank.

While the one-year LPR was lowered in September to support short-term lending, the above-five-year LPR, an anchor for mortgage lending, stood unchanged at 4.85 percent, another sign that authorities are determined to rein in speculation in the property sector, analysts said.

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