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China bank loans diminish

Some experts see this as presaging rising credit risks

– China’s bank loans as a share of funding in the economy may have fallen to a record low, highlighting the growth of alternative financing channels that have prompted warnings of rising credit risks.

New yuan loans probably dropped 14 percent last month from a year earlier, according to the median projection in a Bloomberg News survey of 37 analysts ahead of data due by Tuesday. That would give bank lending a 55 percent share of aggregate financing for 2012, based on UBS estimates, the least in figures dating to 2002.

The decline underscores the waning ability of official loan data to capture the scale of debt in the world’s second-largest economy as borrowers and investors turn to less-regulated, higher-return shadow-banking products. The People’s Bank of China is putting greater emphasis on aggregate financing and the International Monetary Fund says the growth of nonbank credit poses “new challenges to financial stability.”

“China’s economic performance in 2013 will be significantly affected by how seriously Chinese regulators are going to treat non-bank financing,” said Shi Lei, a Beijing- based analyst with broker Founder Securities Co., who has provided research advice to China’s securities regulator.

“While a hands-off approach will help the economy, a crackdown “would be really bad for growth.”

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