BEIJING — Total assets in China’s banking sector saw steady growth in the past few years despite economic headwinds, with leading domestic players assuming greater presence in the global system.
By the end of 2017, the total assets of China’s banking industry reached 252 trillion yuan (about $39.9 trillion), up 8.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).
The data also marked a 88.6-percent surge from the sector’s asset scale five years ago. By the end of last year, there were 4,549 institutions in the sector.
The banking sector is the pillar of China’s financial system. In recent years, the Chinese government has tightened regulation over the industry as defusing major risks is one of the three tough battles the country has vowed to fight.
The non-performing loan ratio of commercial banks stood at 1.74 percent at the end of 2017, with outstanding bad loans at 1.71 trillion yuan.
The ratio declined for the first time since 2012 to the current level in the last quarter of 2016, an encouraging sign for an economy trying to solve its debt problem.
The data also showed Chinese commercial banks’ capital adequacy ratio and liquidity coverage ratio were 13.65 percent and 123.26 percent, respectively.
“Chinese banks’ capital adequacy ratio is higher than the international minimum standard by two to three percentage points, meaning there is enough ammunition to fend off risks,” said CBRC official Xiao Yuanqi.
While playing a bigger role in supporting the real economy, Chinese banks have become increasingly competitive in the global arena in recent years.
In 2017, four Chinese banks, including Bank of China and China Construction Bank, made it to the Financial Stability Board list of 30 global systemically important banks.
Data from UK-based magazine the Banker showed 126 Chinese banks were included in the 2017 top 1,000 ranking, seven more than the previous year.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China dominated the ranking for the fifth year running.