Chinese banks should step up lending to private sector, central bank official quoted

3 weeks ago 34

Paramilitary police officers stand guard in front of the headquarters of PBOC in Beijing

Paramilitary police officers stand guard in front of the headquarters of the People's Bank of China, the central bank (PBOC), in Beijing, China September 30, 2022. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

BEIJING, Aug 30 (Reuters) - An official at China's central bank urged banks to step up lending to private companies during a meeting on Wednesday with financial regulators, corporations and lenders, the state-owned Securities Times reported.

Relevant financial departments are formulating policy documents with this goal in mind, the newspaper quoted Ma Jianyang, deputy head of the financial market department at the People's Bank of China (PBOC) as saying.

The central bank will ask financial institutions to set annual targets for services to private firms and vigorously expand loans to companies that are borrowing for the first time, it said.

China's new bank loans tumbled in July and other key credit gauges also weakened, even after policymakers cut interest rates and promised to roll out more support for a faltering economy.

Analysts have cut their growth forecasts for the year to below the government's target of about 5%, as they also factor in a worsening of the crisis in the property sector and weak consumer spending.

Investment by private companies shrank 0.5% in the first seven months of the year, bigger than the 0.2% decline for the first half.

The Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses, major banks including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (601398.SS) and China Construction Bank (601939.SS) as well as at least 11 private firms participated the meeting, according to Yicai financial news.

The firms included energy equipment manufacturer Titan Wind Energy (002531.SZ), egg producer DQY Ecological and property firms Longfor Group (0960.HK) and Seazen Holdings (601155.SS), Yicai said.

In other recent policy plans, some state-owned banks will soon lower interest rates on existing mortgages, the first such move in China since the global financial crisis, people familiar with the matter have said.

Reporting by Ellen Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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