China’s state-owned banks have increased lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Reuters reported, citing state media. Outstanding loans to SMEs from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and China Construction Bank topped nearly US$878 billion by the end of May. The increase comes on the heels of Beijing’s repeated calls for more lending to SMEs. Rapid growth in lending in the first quarter of the year had led to official concerns that the loans were not being directed toward sectors of the economy that required them, or that would help to create a sustainable rebound in the economy. In May, the China Banking Regulatory Commission released a draft of new rules aimed at limiting the misuse of funds lent as part of Beijing’s US$586 billion stimulus package.
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