SHANGHAI China's four largest banks extended 370 billion yuan ($59.4 billion) of new loans in January, up from 320 billion yuan in the same period last year, the official China Securities Journal reported on Tuesday.
That marked an uptick from 210 billion yuan in December, after total new bank loans had steadily declined during 2012 as loans fell as a proportion of total social financing.
The level of new loans from the big four - the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (601398.SS), Agricultural Bank of China (601288.SS), China Construction Bank (601939.SS) and Bank of China (601988.SS) - was broadly in line with market expectations.
A Reuters survey estimated that total new loans from all Chinese banks would hit 1 trillion yuan in January. The big four banks usually account for 30 percent to 50 percent of overall new bank lending in China.
China is diversifying its channels of alternative money supply, including trust loans and bonds, meaning that bank loans are losing the top spot as the key measure of Chinese money supply.
In December, total new yuan loans made up only 445 billion yuan out of 1.6 trillion yuan in Total Social Financing (TSF).
The ratio of yuan loans in TSF hit a record low of 52.1 percent in 2012 and analysts believe the ratio will fall below 50 percent this year. That compares with 91.9 percent 10 years ago.
($1 = 6.2328 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Chris Gallagher)