Ratings agency Fitch on Wednesday warned credit levels in China remained high due to an increase in channels for new financing, one day after Beijing reported a drop in new loans issued by banks.
"The post-crisis credit boom in China is often misportrayed as a brief, isolated event in the first half of 2009," Charlene Chu, head of Fitch's ratings of Chinese banks, said in a statement.
"In reality, the credit boom lasted two solid years and is still running strong as new channels of credit expand."
In 2009, lending nearly doubled to 9.6 trillion yuan due to government efforts to spur economic activity amid the global financial crisis. New loans slowed to 7.95 trillion yuan in 2010, but still exceeded the official target.
Chinese policymakers have been pulling on a variety of levers to rein in lending on fears soaring property prices and inflation -- which hit a three-year high of 6.4 percent in June -- could trigger social unrest.
In a sign their efforts are bearing fruit, China's central bank announced on Tuesday that new loans issued by banks fell nearly 10 percent in the first half of 2011 to 4.17 trillion yuan.
Fitch estimates that the volume of new loans issued by banks in 2011 will reach 8 trillion yuan, but it warns total new financing -- which includes lending by non-bank financial institutions -- could hit 18 trillion yuan.
Many individuals and small firms finance their activities through non-bank institutions, such as pawnbrokers.
Last week, ratings agency Moody's also warned China may have understated the debt burden of local governments by as much as $541.6 billion, adding the proportion of bad loans could be higher than previously forecast.