July 30, 2019 / 12:34 PM / 22 days ago

China's central bank branches tell lenders to increase loans appropriately: sources

FILE PHOTO: Headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, is pictured in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - Multiple local branches of China’s central bank have told commercial banks to increase loans appropriately, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

As economic growth slows to near 30-year lows, investors are waiting to see how much more stimulus Beijing will roll out, and if it will risk easing curbs on property markets to boost construction and investment.

“It’s a temporary notice given at the month-end to grant us more lending quotas,” one of the sources said. “Small banks like us can grant a quota of several hundred million yuan, with an aim to moderately extend loans to the real economy.”

China’s central bank has pledged to keep supporting loans to small and medium-sized companies as the world’s second-largest economy slows. But loans to the property market will be curbed amid concerns over real estate bubbles and a build-up in household debt.

China is keeping all its economic policy tools within reach as the trade war with the United States gets longer and costlier, but still sees more aggressive action like interest rate cuts as a last resort should the dispute get worse, policy sources have told Reuters.

Since early 2018, the central bank has cut the RRR six times to boost lending, especially for small and private firms, but banks’ reluctance to lend has left exporters and manufacturers struggling to pay bills.

The last RRR cut, effective from May 15 and implemented in three phases, released 280 billion yuan ($40.70 billion) in long-term liquidity for some small and medium-sized banks, the PBOC has said.

The PBOC did not immediately offer comment when Reuters contacted it on Tuesday.

Reporting by Li Zheng in SHANGHAI and Hou Xiangming in BEIJING; Writing by Cheng Leng, Kevin Yao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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