China March new bank loans jump, broad credit growth quickens By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in a counting machine while a clerk counts them at a branch of a commercial bank in Beijing, China, March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

BEIJING (Reuters) – New bank lending in China rose more than expected in March, while broad credit growth accelerated, from the previous month as the central bank kept policy accommodative to support the slowing economy.

Chinese banks extended 3.13 trillion yuan ($492 billion) in new yuan loans in March, up sharply from February and exceeding analyst expectations, data released by the People’s Bank of China on Monday showed.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted new yuan loans would rise to 2.68 trillion yuan in March. The new loans were higher than 2.73 trillion yuan a year earlier.

That pushed bank lending in the first quarter to a record of 8.34 trillion yuan, up 8.7% from 7.67 trillion yuan in the first quarter of 2021 – the previous record.

China’s cabinet last week held out the prospect of more measures to support the economy under pressure from renewed COVID-19 outbreaks and a slowing global recovery.

To spur growth, the central bank has cut interest rates and banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR), with more easing steps expected.

Broad M2 money supply grew 9.7% from a year earlier, central bank data showed, above estimates of 9.2% forecast in the Reuters poll. M2 grew 9.2% in February from a year ago.

Outstanding yuan loans grew by 11.4% from a year earlier compared with 11.4% growth in March. Analysts had expected 11.4% growth.

Growth of outstanding total social financing (TSF), a broad measure of credit and liquidity in the economy, quickened to 10.6% in March from a year earlier and from 10.2% in February.

TSF includes off-balance sheet forms of financing that exist outside the conventional bank lending system, such as initial public offerings, loans from trust companies and bond sales.

In March, TSF rose sharply to 4.65 trillion yuan from 1.19 trillion yuan in February. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected March TSF of 3.7 trillion yuan.

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