Bank loans

New Chinese bank lending plunged more than expected in February

BEIJING — New bank lending in China plunged in February due to seasonal factors and weak demand, slowing significantly from record highs in January.

New yuan loans issued by Chinese banks amounted to 1.23 trillion yuan ($194.6 billion) last month, down significantly from 3.98 trillion yuan in January, data shows. released Friday by the People’s Bank of China.

Economists polled earlier by The Wall Street Journal had forecast new loans to be 1.5 trillion yuan. February is a seasonally low month as banks usually grant a higher amount of loans in January after obtaining new loan quotas.

Total social financing, aggregate credit that also includes loans issued by non-bank institutions, stood at 1.19 trillion yuan, down from 6.17 trillion yuan in January, according to official data. February data also fell by more than 500 billion yuan from a year earlier.

Growth in China’s M2, the broadest measure of money supply, surprisingly slowed to 9.2% in February, from a 9.8% increase in January, and was below estimates for a 9.0% rise. .6% in the WSJ poll.

China last week set an economic growth target for the year of around 5.5% amid mounting downward pressure on the world’s second-largest economy. Beijing also pledged to keep M2 growth stable and total social financing in line with nominal GDP growth.

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