China’s bank lending in August over doubled from your previous month, but analysts said most of the gain was due to strong mortgage demand, increasing evidence that Chinese companies are increasingly hesitant to make new investments.
The figures, as well as other data in the week, paint a picture of the economy that is certainly 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 by way of a more-than-expected 11.4 percent from a 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 best in just two years, while M2 quickened from July’s 10.2 percent rise, which was the weakest in 15 months.
The central bank has pledged to maintain policy slightly loose, but sources say it is actually hesitant to cut interest rates or bank reserves again in 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 recently will add to the growing sense among investors how the near-term outlook for China’s economy is pretty 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 about credit risks. But with recent activity data also strengthening, we expect economic growth to bolster across the remainder of year.”
Data on Tuesday showed China’s factory output and retail sales also grew faster than expected in August as a strong real estate market and 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 dependence on 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 finish a near one-year rally.
A sharp price correction would boost strains on banks that are already wrestling with growing numbers of bad loans.
Household loans, mostly mortgages, taken into account 71 percent of total new bank loans in August, though these were down from a lot more than 90 % in July, data showed.
“Home loans remain the major driver of loan growth, depending on 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 with 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), an extensive 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 types of financing that exist beyond the conventional bank lending system, including initial public offers, 房屋貸款 from trust companies and bond sales.
M1 money supply, which include 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 about a “liquidity trap” in dexrpky35 economy where companies remain wary of investing regardless of how much stimulus money policymakers pump into the system.
“The rapid expansion of M1 money supply indicates corporates’ preference of holding cash as an alternative to investment. This can be consistent using the slowing trend in fixed asset investment through 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 last month but “remains at elevated levels.”
The PBOC is concentrating on annual M2 growth of around 13 percent this season, pointing to continued accommodative policy as Beijing pledges to set about painful economic restructuring involving state-owned enterprises in key industrial sectors.
Policy insiders have mentioned that evidence companies and banks are hoarding cash, alongside concerns about property market along with the yuan’s stability, has reinforced policymakers’ view there is not any major benefit in easing policy further.