The Wall Street Journal reports Chinese companies are increasingly stepping in as lenders, as banks reduce their funding to struggling industries and the country’s mammoth bond market comes under strain. Company-to-company loans in China jumped by 20% last year to 13.2 trillion yuan ($1.92 trillion), according to research firm CEIC. That is roughly double the size of the loan book at Wells Fargo, the US’s biggest lender. This entrusted lending, so named because banks serve as middlemen, is now the fastest-growing major component of the country’s elaborate system of informal, or shadow, banking. The most recent surge came during the selloff in China’s $9.3 trillion bond market late last year. Big, cash-rich companies—mostly state-owned enterprises and some private companies—stepped in: New entrusted loans rose to 405.7 billion yuan ($59.02 billion) in December, more than double the month prior.
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