Chinese banks are lending more money, but not calling the funds “loans.” As of June, 32 publicly traded Chinese banks had a total of $2 trillion in “investment receivables” as of June, up from $334 billion at the end of 2011, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal. The investments are equivalent to 20% of the same banks’ total loans in dollar terms, up from 6% at the end of 2011. The surge shows how Chinese banks are trying to keep the credit flowing amid the economic slowdown. Structuring financing deals as investments frees up bank capital and makes it easier to extend loan deadlines or new credit. Economists at Swiss bank UBS AG estimate as much as $2.4 trillion was “missing” from the broadest measurement of credit disclosed by China’s central bank last year, up from $712 billion in 2014.
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