【英语中国】中国信贷增长在2013年下半年放缓 Credit Growth in China Slowed in Second Half

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2014-1-15 19:58

小艾摘要: Chinese credit growth slowed in the second half of last year, according to new data released Wednesday, but that did little to dent a buildup of debt that has left the nation's financial system increa ...
Credit Growth in China Slowed in Second Half
Chinese credit growth slowed in the second half of last year, according to new data released Wednesday, but that did little to dent a buildup of debt that has left the nation's financial system increasingly vulnerable.

The People's Bank of China on Wednesday said new credit issued in the Chinese economy fell by 10.7% to 7.135 trillion yuan (about $1.18 trillion) in the second half of 2013 compared with the year-earlier period. But for all of 2013, overall credit rose 9.7% to 17.29 trillion yuan compared with 2012. The central bank's data concerns total social financing, a broad measure of credit in the Chinese economy.

Since the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, China's debt levels have grown at a clip similar to the U.S., the euro zone and South Korea before those economies fell into deep recessions. While few economists forecast such an outcome for China, at least in the near term, the country's debt accumulation could eventually slow growth, as occurred in Japan during the 1990s.

Powering China's climbing debt is lending by what are known as shadow bankers--an assortment of trust companies, securities firms, insurance companies and other informal lenders. Many of the loans from such institutions go to borrowers that traditional banks deem too risky. That can include local governments, real-estate developers and corporate borrowers in industries plagued by overcapacity.

In 2013, lending by shadow banking institutions rose 43% on year to 5.165 trillion, the central bank reported. It doubled to 2.865 trillion in first half of the year compared with the same period in 2012 but fell 5.1% in the second half.

Economists said the second-half credit slowdown was due in part to the government pushing up interest rates, which reduced demand. Also, the year-ago period was a time of a big expansion in credit, as the government looked to make sure growth topped its 7.5% target for the year.

Still, they said, new credit in the second half of 2013 wasn't that much lower than the year before. 'The government is trying to get a handle on credit flows, but the overall leverage still seems high,' said Nomura analyst Zhiwei Zhang.

The central bank plans to step up supervision of shadow banking, Sheng Songcheng, head of the central bank's statistics department, said at a news briefing Wednesday. The PBOC would encourage such institutions to channel their loans to borrowers pursuing projects that would boost economic growth. 'We should see [shadow banking's] positive roles and risks in them at the same time,' he said.

Clamping down too hard on credit risks undermining growth, as projects go begging for cash. Royal Bank of Scotland analyst Louis Kuijs estimated that China is still adding to its total domestic credit at a pace that is roughly twice the rate of growth of GDP, and that Beijing would move slowly to decelerate. 'Even though the government is trying to move toward a slowdown, we're only at the beginning,' he said.

Beijing has had some success in limiting growth of loans made by trust companies, which have been the most important platform of the shadow banking system since 2009. However, even as Beijing cracks down in one area, other sources of shadow credit have ballooned, filling the gaps caused by any funding shortfall.

Entrusted loans, whereby companies lend directly to one another, accounted for 14.8% of total social financing in 2013, the second largest category of new credit behind banks loans. In 2012, it represented only 8.1%. In the second half of 2013 entrusted loans represented more than 20% of all new credit created during the period, or 1.4 trillion yuan.

Entrusted loans allow companies that have spare cash to earn a higher return than if they park it in a bank as deposits or buy bonds, although it exposes them to significantly more risk. Still, the returns can be exceptionally high. Property developers and local government-backed infrastructure companies, which can't readily tap bank credit, are willing to pay high interest rates to anyone willing to lend.

周三公布的最新数据显示,去年下半年中国信贷增长放缓,但是对于降低中国巨额的债务水平几无裨益。巨额负债加剧了中国金融系统的脆弱性。

中国央行周三表示,2013年下半年社会融资规模同比降低了10.7%,至人民币7.135万亿元(约合1.18万亿美元)。但是2013年全年社会融资规模比上年增加了9.7%,至17.29万亿元。社会融资规模是衡量中国经济领域内信贷状况的广义指标。

2008年和2009年的全球金融危机爆发后,中国债务的增长速度一直与美国、欧元区和韩国相当,直至后三者陷入严重经济滑坡。但是很少有经济学家认为,(至少在短期内)负债猛增可能最终导致中国经济增长放缓,重现日本二十世纪90年代的一幕。

推动中国负债猛增的一个原因是影子银行的贷款增加,这包括信托公司、证券公司、保险公司和其他非正式的放贷机构。这些机构的贷款很多都流向了传统银行认为风险太高的借款人,这可能包括地方政府、房地产开发商和那些产能过剩行业的公司。

央行公布,2013年影子银行机构发放的贷款规模增加43%,达到人民币5.165万亿元,其中上半年同比增加1倍至人民币2.865万亿元,下半年减少5.1%。

经济学家们表示,去年下半年信贷增长放缓一定程度上是因为政府推高了利率水平,这削弱了贷款需求。此外上年同期正值信贷大幅增加之际,因为当时政府希望确保当年的经济增长率超过7.5%的目标值。

不过经济学家们也称,2013年下半年新增贷款的同比降幅并不显著。野村(Nomura)分析师张智威表示,虽然政府尝试控制信贷流动,但是整体负债水平似乎仍很高。

中国央行统计部门负责人盛松成在周三的新闻发布会上表示,中国央行计划加强对影子银行的监管。中国央行将鼓励这类影子银行机构向那些能促进经济增长的项目提供贷款。他说,我们既要看到影子银行的积极作用,也要看到它的风险所在。

在经济项目急需资金的情况下,对信贷控制过紧就有可能会阻碍经济增长。苏格兰皇家银行(Royal Bank of Scotland)分析师高路易(Louis Kuijs)估计,中国国内信贷投放总量仍在以国内生产总值(GDP)增长率两倍的速度增长,中国政府将逐步采取措施来降低信贷投放速度。他说,即使政府正着手降低信贷增速,也只是刚刚开始。

中国政府在限制信托公司贷款投放增长方面取得了一定成功。自2009年以来,这些信托公司一直是影子银行系统最重要的平台。但就在中国政府打击一个方面的影子银行活动之际,其他来源的影子信贷又膨胀起来,填补经济中的资金缺口。

2013年,委托贷款(即公司之间直接贷款的行为)占社会融资总量的14.8%,在新增信贷占比排行中仅次于银行贷款。2012年这类贷款只占8.1%。2013年下半年,委托贷款在同期的全部新增贷款中占比超过20%。2013年下半年的新增贷款总额为人民币1.4万亿元。

委托贷款可使拥有余量资金的公司获得比把钱存在银行或投资债券更高的收益,但它们面临的风险也要大得多。但这个回报率可能会非常高。房地产开发商和有地方政府背景的基础设施公司不能轻易获得银行信贷,只要有人愿意借钱给他们,他们就愿意支付高利息。

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