Chinese Bank Outlook Could Sour

Loans to local governments may weigh on banks, Moody's say.

Chinese banks’ loans to local governments are about 3.5 trillion yuan ($540 billion) more than the national auditor’s estimate, and the industry’s credit outlook could decline, Moody’s Investors Service said.

"The Chinese audit agency could be understating banks’ exposure to local governments,” Yvonne Zhang, a Moody’s analyst in Beijing, said in the report today. The “apparent absence of a clear master plan to deal with this issue” is likely to exacerbate problems and lenders may be left to manage a portion of the souring loans on their own, it said.

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