Bad loans at Chinese banks rise $4 billion in third quarter: regulator

SHANGHAI Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:32pm EST

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Bad loans at Chinese banks rose 22.4 billion yuan ($4 billion) in the third quarter to a total 478.8 billion yuan, while the non-performing-loan ratio ticked up slightly from the previous quarter to 0.95 percent, China's banking regulator said.

Bad loans for the first nine-months of the year at large commercial banks -- including Bank of China (601988.SS) (3988.HK), Agricultural Bank of China (601288.SS) (1288.HK), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (601398.SS) (1398.HK) -- were 307 billion yuan, with a non-performing loan ratio of 1 percent, the Banking Regulatory Commission said on Thursday.

Bad loans at the big banks rose 5 billion yuan in the third quarter, while bad loans at rural banks rose 6 billion yuan to 48.7 billion yuan, with a non-performing loan ratio of 1.65 percent.

Banks' exposure to high risk ventures, particularly in the property sector and outside regular lending channels in off-balance sheet "shadow banking" transactions, has worried investors and ratings agencies.

China's two top banking officials earlier this week played down the risks of bad debts to the banking system.

(Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Richard Pullin)