Global Times recently reported that the five largest banks in China had a 127 percent increase in loan write-downs last year. This demonstrated a clear slow-down in growth with high pressure in the financial sector. These five banks own more than half of all of the loans in China. They wrote down a total of RMB 59 billion (around US$9.5 billion) worth of loans that would never be paid back. This level of write-downs is also the highest in ten years. In addition to the dramatic number of loan write-downs, in March, the Chinese financial market also suffered the first default in the corporate bond segment, two instances of near-default “shadow bank” investment products, as well as a run on the bank in Jiangsu Province. Data also showed that the first quarter economic slow-down turned out to be more severe than expected, which may indicate the slowest year of growth for the Chinese economy since 1990.
Source: Global Times, March 31, 2014