China’s central bank asked the nation’s major lenders to curtail loan growth for the rest of this year after a surge in the first two months stoked bubble risks, according to people familiar with the matter. At a meeting with the People’s Bank of China on March 22, banks were told to keep new advances in 2021 at roughly the same level as last year, said the people, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Some foreign banks were also urged to rein in additional lending through so-called window guidance recently after ramping up their balance sheets in 2020, one of the people said. The comments give further detail to what the central bank stated publicly after the meeting, when it said it asked representatives of 24 major banks to keep loan growth stable and reasonable.
In 2020, banks doled out a record 19.6 trillion yuan ($3 trillion) of credit, with about a fifth directed to inclusive financing such as small business loans. Lending the same amount this year would bring the outstanding balance to about 192 trillion yuan, an annual increase of about 11 per cent, the slowest pace in more than 15 years.
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