China April loans fall more than expected as central bank begins scaling back stimulus
China’s new bank loans fell more than expected in April while money supply growth slowed to a 21-month low, as the central bank gradually scales back pandemic-driven stimulus to reduce debt and financial risks in hot areas of the economy.
Chinese banks extended 1.47 trillion yuan (US$228.21 billion) in new yuan loans in April, down from 2.73 trillion yuan in March and lagging analysts’ expectations of 1.6 trillion yuan, according to the People’s Bank of China.
The tally was lower than 1.7 trillion yuan issued the same month a year earlier, when policy-makers rolled out unprecedented measures to deal with the shock from the coronavirus crisis.
Growth in outstanding yuan loans eased to 12.3 percent from a year earlier, the slowest pace since February 2020, and compared with 12.6 percent in March.
Excluding the sharp drop seen during COVID-19 lockdowns last year, loan growth in April was the slowest since 2002. Broad M2 money supply grew 8.1 percent from a year earlier, dipping to the lowest since July 2019. It rose 9.4 percent in March.
Growth of outstanding total social financing, a broad measure of credit and liquidity in the economy, slowed to 11.7 percent in April from a year earlier and from 12.3 percent in March.
Top leaders last week repeated the pledge that they would not make a sudden turn in macro policy, and will make the economic recovery more balanced.
The government has extended a loan repayment relief scheme for small firms to the end of this year.