China’s bank lending in August over doubled from your previous month, but analysts said a lot of the gain was as a result of strong mortgage demand, contributing to evidence that Chinese companies are increasingly unwilling to make new investments.
The figures, together with other data this week, paint a picture of an economy that is improving slowly but increasingly reliant on a housing boom and government spending for growth.
Chinese banks extended 948.7 billion yuan ($142.23 billion) in 房貸 in August, well above expectations, while broad M2 money supply (M2) also grew with a more-than-expected 11.4 percent from the year earlier, as outlined by central bank data on Wednesday.
New bank lending rebounded sharply from July’s 463.6 billion yuan, that was the cheapest in 2 years, while M2 quickened from July’s 10.2 percent rise, that was the weakest in 15 months.
The central bank has pledged to maintain policy slightly loose, but sources say it can be reluctant to cut rates or bank reserves again in the near term amid evidence that companies and banks are hoarding cash as opposed to investing it.
“A renewed pick-up in credit growth recently will increase the growing sense among investors that this near-term outlook for China’s economy is fairly bright,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard at Capital Economics.
“Credit growth is still prone to slow over coming months as the PBOC refrains from further easing and focuses much more on credit risks. Although with recent activity data also strengthening, we expect economic growth to bolster over the remainder of the season.”
Data on Tuesday showed China’s factory output and retail sales also grew faster than expected in August as being a strong housing marketplace as well as a government infrastructure spending spree underpinned increase in the world’s second-largest economy.
But August readings also highlighted imbalances from the economy, with private investment growth at record lows and exports still sluggish.
China’s increasingly addiction to the property market is also a major concern, as increasing numbers of cities impose restrictions on home purchases within the face of sharply rising house prices, threatening to terminate a near one-year rally.
A sharp price correction would add to strains on banks that happen to be already wrestling with growing numbers of bad loans.
Household loans, mostly mortgages, accounted for 71 percent of total new bank loans in August, though they were down from over 90 percent in July, data showed.
“Home mortgages remain the most important driver of loan growth, according to booming real estate market and weak loan demand from corporates,” David Qu and Raymond Yeung at ANZ said in the note.
Outstanding yuan loans grew at 13 percent by month-end upon an annual basis.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected new lending of 750 billion yuan, with outstanding loans seen rising 12.9 percent, and funds supply seen up 10.4 percent.
Total social financing (TSF), a large measure of credit and liquidity from the economy, jumped to 1.47 trillion yuan in August from 487.9 billion yuan in July.
TSF includes off-balance sheet kinds of financing which exist outside of the conventional bank lending system, such as initial public offers, 房屋貸款 from trust companies and bond sales.
M1 money supply, consisting of cash and short-term deposits, rose 25.3 percent in August from your year earlier. The widening gap between M1 and M2 growth has fueled concerns with regards to a “liquidity trap” in dexrpky35 economy where companies remain cautious about investing regardless how much stimulus money policymakers pump into the system.
“The rapid growth and development of M1 money supply indicates corporates’ preference of holding cash instead of investment. This can be consistent using the slowing trend in fixed asset investment from the private sector,” ANZ said.
Chester Liaw, an economist at Forecast Pte Ltd in Singapore, said the spread between M1 and M2 growth narrowed to 13.9 percentage points from 15.2 recently but “remains at elevated levels.”
The PBOC is shooting for annual M2 development of around 13 percent this coming year, pointing to continued accommodative policy as Beijing pledges to embark on painful economic restructuring involving state-owned enterprises in key industrial sectors.
Policy insiders have claimed that evidence companies and banks are hoarding cash, alongside concerns about property market as well as the yuan’s stability, has reinforced policymakers’ view there is not any major benefit in easing policy further.