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Economic Recovery in China Stalls as Credit Demand Plummets.

In a concerning development for the Chinese economy, credit demand in the country weakened during the month of May. This decline comes as the nation’s economic recovery loses momentum, thereby intensifying the need for the central bank to implement further stimulus measures in order to reignite growth.

According to the People’s Bank of China, the aggregate financing, which serves as a comprehensive gauge of credit, stood at 1.6 trillion yuan ($224 billion) in May. This figure, announced on Tuesday, fell short of the median projection of 1.9 trillion yuan, as per a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Financial institutions provided a total of 1.4 trillion yuan in new loans during the month, falling short of economists’ predictions of 1.6 trillion yuan. Both figures experienced a decline compared to the same month in the previous year.

A series of economic reports indicate that China’s economic recovery experienced a slowdown in May. Inflation remained at nearly zero, manufacturing activity contracted, and exports declined for the first time in three months.

Furthermore, the previously observed rebound in home sales has now decelerated. Despite a rapid expansion in money supply, private investment remained stagnant during the first four months of the year.

Following the unexpected cut to its short-term policy interest rate by the PBOC on Tuesday morning, the data emerged, indicating growing concerns among officials regarding weakening economic growth. This development sparked increased speculation about the possibility of additional monetary easing measures.

According to Bruce Pang, Chief Economist and Head of Research for Greater China at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., the disappointing figures indicate that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) employed the 10-basis point rate cut as a means to reassure the markets before the release of the data. Pang further highlighted that both companies and households are experiencing sluggish demand and lack of dynamism.

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The growth of M2, which serves as the broadest measure of money supply, experienced a slowdown, reaching its slowest level in nearly a year at 11.6%. Furthermore, the stock of credit expanded at a weaker rate compared to April, registering a growth of 9.5%.

In May, there was a negative net issuance of corporate bonds, while government bond issuance decreased by nearly half compared to the previous year. This had a negative impact on credit growth.

Although there was some improvement in new household mid and long-term loans, which serve as a proxy for mortgages, compared to the contraction observed in April, they remained significantly below the levels seen prior to the property downturn in 2022.

To address the economic situation, authorities are considering a comprehensive set of stimulus measures aimed at boosting the economy. It is anticipated that the State Council will review this proposal during the current week, as indicated by individuals familiar with the matter.

Governor Yi Gang of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) hinted at a more flexible approach to monetary policy last week. He referred to “counter-cyclical adjustments” aimed at supporting the economy.

This change in language was interpreted by some analysts as a signal of potential easing measures. Additionally, major state banks have reduced rates on various deposit products. This move is intended to help maintain profit margins for banks in case lending rates decline.

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