BEIJING, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- China's top four state-owned banks have stepped up lending as the government tackles the country's economic slowdown, experts said.
Yuan-denominated loans from the banks known as the "big four" totaled 70 billion ($11 billion) in the first half of August, up from 50 billion yuan ($7.86 billion) in the same period of last month, China Daily reported, quoting Shanghai Securities News. The four banks are the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp., Bank of China Ltd. and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.
New loan releases from all of China's various financial institutions in July totaled 540.1 billion yuan ($84.9 billion), the lowest since last October, the report said.
China's economic growth in the second quarter slowed to 7.6 percent, the lowest since early 2009.
One expert was quoted as saying the four banks' increased lending is in response to the declining credit supply and in line with the government's wishes.
"July's figure was unusually low. If that continues, China won't even achieve its annual credit supply target, which is why credit release has accelerated in August," another economist said.
Shanghai Securities News, citing unnamed sources, said new loans in August should reach 600 billion yuan ($94.35 billion).
Analysts said the bigger concern of the bankers and policymakers remains the weak demand for loans from Chinese companies, saddled by profit declines and rising overcapacity.