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Central Bank Reports Stable Growth of Loans

Chinese bank loan growth was stable in 2005's first quarter, according to a central bank report released Thursday.

The report shows that outstanding loans from all financial institutions, including foreign banks and both local and foreign currencies, jumped 13.0 percent to the equivalent of 18.5 trillion yuan (US$2.23 trillion) year-on-year.

From January to March, loans increased 737.5 billion yuan, an annualized decrease of 97.6 billion yuan.

At the beginning of 2005, the People's Bank of China set a money supply growth target of 15 percent in 2005 -- down from the 17 percent last year, and the new loan target for this year stands at 2.5 trillion yuan, 100 billion yuan lower than that of 2004.  

The central bank said the financial industry ran "smoothly" in the first quarter and vowed to keep in place the "stable" monetary policy.

The outstanding foreign exchange reserves shot up 49.9 percent from a year ago to US$659.1 billion.  

According to the report, the outstanding broad money supply M2, including money in circulation and all deposits, rose a year-on-year 14.0 percent to 26.5 trillion yuan at last month-end.

"In general, the increase of money supply is fairly stable and reasonable," the report said.

The outstanding deposits rose 15.6 percent on an annual basis to 26.9 trillion yuan by the end of March.

In China the actual bank interest rate has so far this year been in negative territory after deducting price hikes and tax on interest income.  

(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2005)

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