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China's major banks have not tightened lending in property sector: Xinhua

Commercial and residential buildings stand in Beijing February 8, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Commercial and residential buildings stand in Beijing February 8, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's major lenders have not tightened or halted their property-related lending business, the official Xinhua news agency said, after local media reported that some banks had stopped lending to real estate developers.

Chinese media, including the official Shanghai Securities News, have reported that some lenders such as Industrial Bank Co Ltd <601166.SS> had stopped lending to developers, fuelling concerns over a cooling property market.

China's Top Five banks -- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) <601398.SS> <1398.HK>, Bank of China Ltd <601988.SS> <3988.HK>, Agricultural Bank of China <1288.HK> <601288.SS>, China Construction Bank <0939.HK> <601939.SS> and Bank of Communications (BoCom) <3328.HK> <601328.SS> -- all said there was no policy change in their real estate-related lending business, Xinhua said on Wednesday.

Mid-sized lenders China Merchants Bank Co Ltd <3968.HK> <600036.SS>, China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd <600016.SS> <1988.HK>, China Citic Bank Corp Ltd <0998.HK> <601998.SS> and China Everbright Bank Co Ltd <601818.SS> <0165.HK>, also said their property business was as usual, Xinhua said.

Officials at ICBC, BoCom, China Merchants and Minsheng confirmed that there was no change in their property lending policies when contacted by Reuters.

Bank of China said on its website on Wednesday that its real estate lending policy had not changed and business would continue to grow steadily this year.

Officials at Citic, Everbright, CCB and AgBank could not be immediately reached for comment.

Industrial Bank clarified in a statement on its website on Monday that it had stopped granting new credit lines to certain developers as it was reviewing its property lending business ahead of a new set of internal management rules to be introduced in March.

Mainland China shares fell to their lowest in two weeks on Tuesday after data showed house price growth slowed for the first time in 14 months in January, with prices in five cities declining on a month-on-month basis.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen, Shanghai newsroom and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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