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China's new yuan loans surge to record high in January

Beijing

CHINESE banks armed with fresh lending quotas extended a record 2.51 trillion yuan (S$540 billion) of new loans in January, far more than markets had expected, suggesting Beijing is keeping monetary policy loose to counter a protracted economic slowdown.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected new yuan loans to surge to a near seven-year high of 1.8 trillion yuan in January, tripling from 597.8 billion yuan in December.

Analysts attributed the lending spike to increased injections by the central bank ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in early February, a traditional tendency among Chinese banks to "front load" loans at the start of a year and companies reducing their exposure to foreign-currency...

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