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by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 09, 2013
Chinese banks granted fewer loans in July than the previous month, data released by the central bank showed Friday, in the aftermath of a liquidity crunch that rattled banks.
Banks extended 699.9 billion yuan ($114 billion) in new loans last month, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement, down from 860.5 billion yuan in June.
But the July figure was still ahead of expectations, beating a forecast of 633 billion yuan by 14 economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
"We do see some negative impact of the June inter-bank liquidity crunch on credit availability for the real economy as evidenced by the sharp fall in corporate bond issuance and bills," Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists said in a report.
"But we believe the impact is muted as Premier Li Keqiang's team has taken decisive measures to calm the inter-bank market and to support growth."
Despite July's decline, economists described the month as overall showing "relatively stable credit growth".
A cash crunch spooked Chinese financial markets in late June before the PBoC, which had ordered banks to strengthen liquidity management, moved to calm nerves with an offer of support.
In late July, the PBoC injected 17 billion yuan into the domestic banking system, the first such move since February, a step analysts said indicated the central bank's intention to ease liquidity conditions in the banking system. So far this month it has added another 46 billion yuan.
The brief turmoil in June underscored rising concerns over excessive lending by banks and other weaknesses in China's financial system, including opaque non-bank forms of lending, often called "shadow finance".
Analysts believe the government is keen to crack down on excessive lending as it seeks to rebalance the economy away from traditional big-ticket spending and ensure sustainable economic growth.
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