BEIJING, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- China's new yuan-denominated lending last year hit a record 9.59 trillion yuan (1.4 trillion U.S. dollars), almost double that of the previous year, the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, announced Friday.
The figure compared with the 5-trillion-yuan annual target the government set at the beginning of 2009.
New yuan-denominated lending in December rose to 379.8 billion yuan from November's 294.8 billion yuan and 253 billion yuan in October, the central bank said.
The December statistics suggested that China's credit rise was returning to a reasonable growth, said Liu Yuhui, economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank.
At the end of December, outstanding loans by financial institutions stood at 39.97 trillion yuan, up 31.74 percent year on year, according to the PBOC.
The broad measure of money supply, M2, which covers cash in circulation and all deposits, rose 27.68 percent from a year earlier as of the end of December, 9.86 percentage points higher than that at the end of 2008.
The narrow measure of money supply, M1 (cash in circulation plus current corporate deposits), was up 32.35 percent to 22 trillion yuan.
Renminbi deposits in 2009 were up by 13.13 trillion yuan, a rise of 5.44 trillion yuan year on year.
The government shifted to the moderately easy monetary policy in 2009 from a tight monetary policy in 2008 to help the national economy counter adverse impacts of the global financial crisis.
However, the lending boom and soaring housing prices have ignited concerns about a risk of an assets bubble and increasing inflation.
The PBOC and the country's policy-makers have repeatedly stated that the government would maintain the continuity and stability of macroeconomic policy and continue the proactive fiscal policy and moderately easy monetary policy in 2010. But it would enhance the focus and flexibility of macroeconomic policy according to conditions.
On Tuesday, the central bank decided to raise the reserve requirement ratio of banks by 0.5 percentage points from Jan. 18, which analysts forecast would help freeze 250 billion yuan of liquidity.
Although new loans this year would not rise as fast as last year, there would still be a significant increase, said Qiu Gaoqing, a senior financial analyst with the Bank of Communications.
Growth of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) accelerated from 6.1 percent in the first quarter of 2009, to 7.9 percent in the second quarter and 8.9 percent in the third. GDP growth for the fourth quarter, together with other major economic data, are due for release on Thursday.
The country's foreign exchange reserves hit almost 2.4 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of 2009, up 23.28 percent year on year, the PBOC said.
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