China’s bank lending in August greater than doubled in the previous month, but analysts said most of the gain was because of strong mortgage demand, contributing to evidence that Chinese companies are increasingly hesitant to make new investments.
The figures, together with other data this week, paint a photograph of the economy that may be 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 from a more-than-expected 11.4 percent coming from a year earlier, in accordance with central bank data on Wednesday.
New bank lending rebounded sharply from July’s 463.6 billion yuan, which had been the smallest by two years, while M2 quickened from July’s 10.2 percent rise, that has been the weakest in 15 months.
The central bank has pledged to help keep policy slightly loose, but sources say it is actually hesitant to cut interest rates or bank reserves again within the near term amid evidence that companies and banks are hoarding cash as an alternative to investing it.
“A renewed pick-up in credit growth last month will add to the growing sense among investors the near-term outlook for China’s economy is fairly bright,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard at Capital Economics.
“Credit growth remains very likely to slow over coming months since the PBOC refrains from further easing and focuses much more on credit risks. But with recent activity data also strengthening, we expect economic growth to strengthen over the remainder of the year.”
Data on Tuesday showed China’s factory output and retail sales also grew faster than expected in August as being a strong housing market plus a government infrastructure spending spree underpinned rise 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 dependence on your property market is yet another 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 increase strains on banks which are already wrestling with growing variety of bad loans.
Household loans, mostly mortgages, made up 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 major 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 a note.
Outstanding yuan loans grew at 13 percent by month-end on 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 wide way of measuring credit and liquidity in the economy, jumped to 1.47 trillion yuan in August from 487.9 billion yuan in July.
TSF includes off-balance sheet sorts of financing which one can find outside the conventional bank lending system, like 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 a year earlier. The widening gap between M1 and M2 growth has fueled concerns in regards to a “liquidity trap” in dexrpky35 economy where companies remain cautious about investing regardless of how much stimulus money policymakers pump into the system.
“The rapid development of M1 money supply indicates corporates’ preference of holding cash as opposed to investment. This can be consistent together with the slowing trend in fixed asset investment by 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 concentrating on annual M2 growth and development of around 13 percent this coming year, pointing to continued accommodative policy as Beijing pledges to engage in painful economic restructuring involving state-owned enterprises in key industrial sectors.
Policy insiders have said that evidence companies and banks are hoarding cash, alongside concerns about property market and also the yuan’s stability, has reinforced policymakers’ view there is absolutely no major benefit in easing policy further.