February 22, 2012 / 4:22 AM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Lending by China's big 4 banks down in early Feb - paper

* Big Four lent 70 bln yuan Feb. 1-19 - report

* Figure points to hefty fall in lending from January

* RRR cut could lead to lending surge in final days of Feb (Adds details, background)

SHANGHAI, Feb 22 (Reuters) - China’s four biggest state-owned banks extended about 70 billion yuan ($11.1 billion) in new local-currency loans from Feb. 1-19, suggesting a big drop in lending, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Wednesday.

With just ten more days remaining in February after that period, the figure suggests lending by the biggest banks, which typically accounts for 30-40 percent of overall new loans, could drop significantly for the month.

State media reported earlier this month that new lending by the Big Four totalled 320 billion yuan in January, just over 40 percent of a total of 738.1 billion yuan in new loans by Chinese banks that month.

The big four state-run banks are Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd , China Construction Bank Corp , Bank of China Ltd and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd .

Total lending, including other Chinese banks, could still exceed the January figure, the paper said, citing unnamed bank sources.

Despite the apparent drop in lending by the big banks in the first part of the month, it is possible that credit extensions could surge in the final days of February. Banks sometimes book lending in spurts of several days, and the cut in required reserves by the central bank, which goes into effect on Friday, could boost lending.

The central bank lowered the amount of cash banks must hold in reserve on Saturday, boosting lending capacity by an estimated 350-400 billion yuan.

$1 = 6.2964 Chinese yuan Reporting by Fayen Wong and Jason Subler; Editing by Chris Lewis

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