China's bank lending slowed in April from the previous month, the central bank said Wednesday, reflecting slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
Domestic banks extended new loans of 707.9 billion yuan ($115.9 billion), the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement, down from 1.18 trillion yuan in March.
Total social financing -- a broader measure of credit in the economy -- totalled 1.05 trillion yuan for April, it said, down from 1.18 trillion yuan in March.
The median forecast for total social financing, also known as aggregate financing, in a survey of economists by Bloomberg News was 1.2 trillion yuan.
China's economy expanded 7.0 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, slumping to a post global financial crisis low, even as Beijing took steps to bolster growth.
The country's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 7.4 percent in 2014, the slowest pace in 24 years, and the government has cut the annual growth target for 2015 to "approximately" seven percent.
The PBoC has been taking steps to boost the economy, announcing a third cut in interest rates in six months on Sunday to facilitate credit expansion and address subdued consumer inflation.
In April, it also lowered the reserve requirement ratio -- the amount of money banks must put aside as reserves -- to encourage lending, for the second time in three months.
"Weak social financing will intensify downward pressure on the real economy and further (monetary) loosening is unavoidable," China Merchants Bank analyst Liu Dongliang said in a research note.
"Combined with the economic figures released earlier today, economic growth for May and June will be under pressure," Liu said.
China released a slew of weak economic data for April on Wednesday, with consumption and investment growth figures at multi-year lows.
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