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Chinese banks urged to support infrastructure projects

Updated: May 15,2015 5:13 PM     Xinhua

Vice-Premier Ma Kai has asked banks to enhance lending support to major infrastructure projects amid an economic slowdown.

In his inspection tours made on May 14 to several branches of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Bank of Communications and China Construction Bank in Shanghai, the vice-premier called on them to improve efficiency in lending to enterprises and prioritize financial lending to sectors backed by the government, including railways, water projects and emerging sectors.

He said banks should also improve lending to small firms, agriculture, and tech companies.

“The real economy and the financial sector rely on each other ... We need to take all available measures to reduce financing costs for borrowers,” Ma said.

Amid a cooling real estate market and shrinking exports due to uneven global economic recovery, the world’s second largest economy saw its growth slide to 7 percent in the first quarter, marking the lowest quarterly growth rate since 2009.

To offset the downward pressure in the economy and reduce the financing costs for companies, the central bank has cut the benchmark interest rate three times since November. It has also dropped the reserve requirement ratio of banks twice since February this year.

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