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China’s property loan growth slows amid tough purchase restrictions

Updated: Apr 21,2018 4:44 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Loans to China’s real estate sector grew at a slower pace in the first quarter as government purchase restrictions remain in place in major cities, data from the central bank showed.

By the end of last month, financial institutions had lent 34.1 trillion yuan ($5.4 trillion) to the property sector, up 20.3 percent year-on-year, according to a report from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

The growth was 0.6 percentage points lower than the rate seen at the end of last year.

Outstanding loans for individual purchases went up 20 percent to 22.86 trillion yuan, retreating 2.2 percentage points from the end of last year.

The data came amid continued government efforts to rein in property speculation, particularly in major cities.

To curb speculation, local governments have passed or expanded restrictions on house purchases and increased minimum downpayments required for mortgages.

In addition, China is working to implement a long-term mechanism for property regulation that ensures supply through multiple sources, provides housing support through multiple channels, and encourages both housing purchases and rentals.

To guide money to the more needy sectors such as small businesses and agriculture, China’s central bank in January implemented a targeted reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cut to commercial banks that extend a big enough proportion of their outstanding or new loans to the desired industries.

Commercial banks whose annual outstanding or new loans in inclusive financing account for more than 1.5 percent of the total enjoy a 0.5 percentage point RRR cut from the central bank’s benchmark level from next year.

The RRR will be cut further by 1 percentage point if the ratio exceeds 10 percent, according to the central bank.

Inclusive financing covers credit support for small business owners, agricultural development, impoverished groups and students.

The central bank data showed the country’s outstanding loans to small and micro businesses totalled 25.1 trillion yuan at the end of March, accounting for 32.7 percent of overall business loans.