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Fitch: New Chinese LDR Rules Could Raise Bank Asset Quality Risk
July 4, 2014 / 2:47 AM / in 3 years

Fitch: New Chinese LDR Rules Could Raise Bank Asset Quality Risk

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) BEIJING/SINGAPORE, July 03 (Fitch) The 30 June decision by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) to amend the calculation of bank loan/deposit ratios (LDRs) is part of an ongoing targeted easing of liquidity conditions. Spurring growth of lending to small/micro enterprises (MSEs) has the potential to hurt bank credit profiles over the medium term, says Fitch Ratings. The LDR change targets MSEs and the agricultural sector while continuing to restrict the growth of total credit, as with an earlier selective reduction in reserve requirement ratios. The policy decision reflects the ongoing challenge of regulators as they seek to rebalance the economy away from capital investment and reduce the role of the shadow banking sector while avoiding a sharp economic slowdown. The new calculation excludes foreign-currency loans and deposits while also relaxing some of the qualifications for both the numerator and denominator of the ratio. Six types of loans targeting the agricultural and the MSE sector will be removed from the numerator, and negotiable certificates of deposits (NCDs) and deposits from an overseas parent bank will be allowed as part of the denominator. The action may result in lower reported LDRs for some banks, but will not alter liquidity positions in the near term, nor is it certain that it will give a meaningful boost to growth in loans to borrowers most in need. As a standalone change, the decision should not have a significant impact on the asset-risk profiles of the banks in Fitch's portfolio. That said, this is part of a wider policy trend toward re-orienting bank lending toward MSEs. In addition to changes to LDRs and RRRs which ease MSE credit, regulators have also lowered the risk weightings applied to MSE loans used in calculating capital ratios. Forthcoming interest-rate liberalisation will also incentivise banks to increase exposure to higher-yielding sectors, which is likely to include MSEs. MSEs tend to be more vulnerable during economic downturns, and more sensitive to economic cycles. So this could have a negative impact on the credit profile of the banking sector over the medium term, by further enabling increased credit for a sector which is generally associated with higher credit risk. There are also risks should loans to MSEs be re-routed into property or other speculative investments such as shadow banking products, which would undermine the government's objectives to reduce funding to these areas. People's Bank of China data confirms that MSE lending is one of the higher growth areas for Chinese banks. MSE credit grew by 13.7% in 2013, which was several percentage points higher than that for large and medium corporations - 10.4% and 9.8% loan growth was recorded for large and medium enterprises, respectively. New loans for MSEs totalled CNY2trn and accounted for 44% of total new corporate loans in 2013, up from CNY1.7trn and 36% in 2012. From a liabilities perspective, the new LDR calculation has the potential to alter Chinese bank's funding structures. The broadening of the definition of deposits means that banks could increase their use of NCDs and bonds to fund lending to certain sectors relative to deposits. Contacts: Katie Chen Associate Director Financial Institutions +86 10 8517 2135 Fitch Ratings (Beijing Limited) 1903, 19/F PICC Tower 2 Jianguomenwai Avenue, Chaoyang District Beijing, China Justin Patrie Senior Director Fitch Wire +65 6796 7232 Media Relations: Leslie Tan, Singapore, Tel: +65 67 96 7234, Email:; Wai-Lun Wan, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2263 9935, Email: The above article originally appeared as a post on the Fitch Wire credit market commentary page. The original article can be accessed at All opinions expressed are those of Fitch Ratings. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: Chinese Banks: Indebtedness Continues to Rise, With No Deleveraging in Sight here ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: here. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE.

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