China new bank loans surge in September

Portugal plans to place two billion renminbi, or yuan, of three-year bonds (AFP Photo/FRED DUFOUR)

New loans by Chinese banks in September surged nearly 30 percent from the previous month, official data showed Tuesday, deepening concern about risky credit expansion in the world’s second largest economy.

New loans extended by banks jumped to 1.22 trillion yuan ($181.3 billion) last month from 948.7 billion yuan in August, said the People’s Bank of China, the central bank.

Beijing has relied on stimulus measures such as loose credit to boost the economy, which faces a tough structural transition and sluggish global demand. But the rapid rise in borrowing has sparked alarm.

The International Monetary Fund warned earlier this month that China’s dependence on debt was growing at a “dangerous pace” and called on Beijing to curb credit growth.

"By maintaining high near-term growth momentum in this manner, the economy faces a growing misallocation of resources and risks an eventual disruptive adjustment," it said.

China is set to release a set of economic indicators on Wednesday, including third-quarter GDP growth, industrial output and retail sales.

While the lingering effect of earlier easing may prop up growth in coming months, Beijing is expected to slow down the pace of lending, Capital Economics China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said in a response to the latest figures.

“The focus of policymakers has shifted away from immediate growth concerns toward containing credit risks,” he said.

Economists have warned that the ballooning borrowing could risk sparking a financial crisis as bad loans and bond defaults increase.

China's total debt hit 168.48 trillion yuan ($25 trillion) at the end of last year, equivalent to 249 percent of GDP, the China Academy of Social Sciences has estimated.

ANZ Research also predicted that loan growth may cool down in the fourth quarter as local governments tighten restrictions on a red-hot housing market.

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