The Bank of China has extended emergency loans of more than one
billion yuan (about 144 million U.S. dollars) to enterprises
affected by the worst snow disaster to hit the country in five
decades, a spokesman said here on Sunday.
The credit is mainly targeted at energy, oil, petrochemical,
telecom, transport and power generation companies in the central,
southern and eastern areas that are crucial to the resumption of
local industry, said bank spokesman Wang Zhaowen.
Guizhou Power Construction Company, a subsidiary of the State
Grid in charge of power supply for southwestern Guizhou Province,
received 200 million (about 27.8 million U.S. dollars), the biggest
chunk of the loans.
The snow and the accompanying frost that started on Jan. 12
damaged 4,323 transmission wires in the province and led to
blackouts in 50 counties and cities. With the capital input and the
assistance of military troops, the company said 38 cities and
counties had power restored by Friday, while 1,886 electrical wires
had resumed transmission.
A Bank of Agriculture spokesman said on Sunday that about 3.2
billion yuan in emergency loans had been extended to the worst-hit
Hunan, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces and Chongqing Municipality to
bankroll power generation, mining and transport companies. Central
Hunan Province had received 1.5 billion yuan, with another two
billion yuan still to come
Bank President Xiang Junbo said more credit would be allocated
to the snow-hit regions while the loan terms could be extended if
debtors had trouble paying back money on time.
Privileges would also be extended to large supermarkets,
wholesale markets specializing in farm produce and logistical and
distribution companies, he said.
As snow has disrupted transport, making it difficult to deliver
cash to branches, the People's Bank of China, the central bank,
asked its local offices late last week to ensure cash supplies and
to place them where they are most needed.
To secure rising demand for capital, the Bank of China's Zhuzhou
branch in Hunan has even started door-to-door services and
delivered 219 million yuan to corporate customers as of Sunday.
In Duyun, Guizhou Province, where power and water supply had
been out for six days, local branches used their own power
generators to ensure the operation of five outlets.
China's "big four" banks, which also includes the China
Construction Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China,
have so far provided a combined 42.85 million yuan in grant
The Bank of Merchants donated another six million yuan through
the China Red Cross.
(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)