The Unseen Revolution in Chinese Finances

Sep 21, 2016 | 09:00 GMT
The Unseen Revolution in Chinese Finances
Rising Chinese homeowner loans could pose a new and dangerous risk that Beijing will no doubt struggle to manage effectively.
(FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

New data from China's National Bureau of Statistics suggest that sweeping changes may be taking place in the country's financial system, though largely away from the public eye. On Sept. 14, the bureau reported that Chinese banks and financial institutions lent nearly 950 billion yuan ($142 billion) in August -- more than double July's amount. During the same month, formal and informal lending activities collectively totaled 1.47 trillion yuan, nearly triple that seen in July. Investment, however, has failed to keep apace with the boom in lending, especially in real-estate construction, which has long been an important driver of economic growth in China. In many ways the agency's figures appear to be unremarkable. Upon closer inspection, though, they point to an impending transformation in the Chinese economy that could come with as many risks as it does rewards....

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