Demand for credit surges higher

Updated: 2016-04-16 10:21

By Zheng Yangpeng(China Daily)

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Demand for credit surges higher

Large increase in total financing for companies signaling a brighter future, experts believe

The growth in demand for credit, underpinned by an improvement in economic activity, surged higher than expected in March, signaling a brighter outlook, analysts said.

Total social financing, the People's Bank of China's gauge of aggregate financing, added a record 2.34 trillion yuan ($361 billion) in March, far outpacing the consensus of 1.4 trillion yuan.

That was up from 730 billion yuan growth in February, and 1.25 trillion yuan in March 2015.

Total social financing includes bank loans, bonds, trust loans and equity flows to companies.

Outstanding total social financing by the end of March stood at 144.7 trillion yuan, according to the People's Bank of China. A total of 6.59 trillion yuan was added to outstanding total social financing in the first quarter, compared with 4.66 trillion yuan a year earlier.

Total social financing was boosted by a surge in bond sales. Corporate bond sales hit a record high of 1.24 trillion yuan in the first quarter, compared with just 320 billion in the first quarter of 2015.

Corporate bonds now account for 18.8 percent of total social financing, up from just 8.4 percent a year ago.

Sheng Songcheng, director of the surveys and statistics department with the PBOC, said the credit figures also underlined structural change in the real economy. He noted that outstanding medium-to-long term loans to industries plagued by overcapacity dropped for the first time in years. Loans to the steel industry slumped 7.5 percent from a year ago and to the building material industry plunged 10.3 percent.

Financing costs also fell slightly, though not as much as in 2015. Average corporate borrowing costs by the end of March were 4.55 percent, down 76 basis points from the end of 2015 and 228 basis points from the first quarter of 2015.

"The government's intent to prop up the economy is turning into reality. The eased pressure on renminbi depreciation and capital outflow has made it easier to ease monetary conditions. Since the effects of policy have a time lag, we expect the upward cycle to continue," said Chang Huili, an economist with China International Capital Corp.

Demand for credit surges higher

Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in a counting machine while a clerk counts them at a branch of a commercial bank in Beijing, China, March 30, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]