China outstanding micro-credit more than doubles in 2010

BEIJING, March 22 Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:19am EDT

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BEIJING, March 22 (Reuters) - Small-scale lending in China is beginning to take off, with outstanding micro-credit loans more than doubling last year, the central bank said on Tuesday.

Firms issued 120.2 billion yuan ($18.30 billion) in new micro-credit in 2010, according to the People's Bank of China. That took the outstanding volume of such loans in China to 197.5 billion yuan, compared with 76 billion yuan at the end of 2009.

Their share of total bank credit also surged to 0.41 percent in 2010 from 0.19 percent the year before, PBOC data shows.

The total number of micro-credit firms in China reached 2,614 by the end of last year, compared with 1,334 firms at the end of 2009, the central bank said in a statement on its website,

The PBOC initiated a pilot scheme to develop micro-credit firms in 2005, aiming to expand lending channels in the country's under-service rural areas with an emphasis on financing agricultural production. ($1=6.568 yuan) (Reporting by Aileen Wang; Editing by Ramya Venugopal)

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