China's new yuan-denominated lending stood at 702.5 billion yuan (114.2 billion U.S. dollars) in August, nearly double that in July, the central bank said on Friday.
In July, China's new yuan loans plunged to 385.2 billion yuan, from the 1.08 trillion yuan issued in new loans in June, raising market concerns that the world's second-largest economy may be stuck in a period of weak demand.
The People's Bank of China said in an online statement that new yuan loans in August were 10.3 billion lower than in the same period last year.
A breakdown of August's lending suggested another contraction in short-term corporate loans, which dropped by 69 billion yuan, following a shocking contraction of 236 billion yuan in July, according to the central bank.
New mid- and long-term loans amounted to 240.8 billion yuan in August, 15.8 percent higher than the 208 billion yuan in July. Mortgage lending jumped 32.5 percent month to month to 272.9 billion in August. In addition, bill financing rose to 236.7 billion yuan from 173 billion in July.
The rebound of new yuan loans suggests that the Chinese government and central bank intend to maintain a relatively supportive credit environment to help achieve growth targets, said Wang Tao, chief China economist with financial services firm UBS, in a research note.
Wang highlighted weak domestic credit demand in both July and August, in particular from a slowing property sector which has traditionally had a huge appetite for new credit.
In addition, banks may also have become more risk-averse amid increasing concerns over worsening asset quality, she said.
Xu Bo, an analyst with Bank of Communications, agreed.
The contraction of short-term corporate lending as well as non-bank credit activity in August comes as banks are wary amid declining asset quality and a property downturn, Xu said
New yuan loans in August pointed to sluggish financing demand among China's manufacturers, and the trend was largely in line with other recent macroeconomic indicators, such as electricity output and industrial production, according to the analyst.
The central bank also said that M2, a broad measure of money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, increased 12.8 percent year on year to 119.75 trillion yuan at the end of August.
The growth rate slowed 0.7 percentage points month to month from July, and 1.9 percentage points year on year.
Before the central bank disclosure, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had revealed the 12.8-percent M2 growth in August on Sept. 9, when he spoke to business leaders on the eve of the World Economic Forum summer gathering in Tianjin.
"There is plenty of money in the pool, and we can't continue relying on money printing to stimulate growth," said the premier, who repeatedly stressed that China will continue a prudent monetary policy and "targeted control measures."
Meanwhile, some economists have downplayed recent deceleration of M2 growth.
Market concerns about the 12.8-percent reading are unfounded, according to a research note from Lu Ting, chief China economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
China's M2 growth, like those in many other countries, has long lost its significance in measuring credit and liquidity thanks to rapid financial innovations, he said.
The narrow measure of money supply (M1), which covers cash in circulation plus demand deposits, rose 5.7 percent year on year to 33.20 trillion yuan at the end of last month, said the central bank.
In another statement, it said China's social financing in August, a measure of funds raised by entities through bank credit and other means, stood at 957.4 billion yuan, more than triple the 273.1 billion yuan of social financing seen in July.
Wang Tao said that China is expected to maintain a relatively accommodative liquidity and credit stance to support growth via targeted easing, but there will be no immediate additional action.
Lu said he expected a healthy pace of base money growth for China to the end of this year, and that there is no sign of liquidity tightening. There were also signs of money inflow in July and August thanks to the rise of domestic A-share markets, he said.
In line with these developments, interbank rates dropped in August, with seven-day reverse repurchase rates falling from 4.02 percent at end the end of July to 3.67 percent at the end of August and down further to 3.16 percent on Sept. 9.