More loans backing investments in hydro power and natural gas will help advance growth in China's westren regions, but supportive policies would not run to soft loans, Wu Xiaoling, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, told an economic forum. According to state media reports, Wu cautioned banks to set interest rates through normal risk-estimating mechanisms and said government needed to make "fiscal allowances" to enterprises in high-risk but profitable sectors. What form the allowances would take was not specified. Since western development policies were put into force, the country's western regions had obtained loans totaling RMB2.86tn (US$344.6 billion) through end-September, according to People's Bank of China data. Long- and medium-term loans totaled RMB1.4trn (US$168.7bn), accounting for 19.3% of outstanding loans across China.