The four biggest mainland banks by assets are expected to get a 35 per cent share of the country's new-loan quota of 8.5 trillion yuan (HK$10.6 trillion) this year, maintaining their dominance over the mainland's 300 or so other commercial banks.
The Big Four - Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of China (BOC) - are likely to have a combined quota of nearly three trillion yuan in new credits, slightly higher than last year, the official China Securities Journal reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources.
Policymakers set the new-loan target at 8.5 trillion yuan, the paper reported last week, which would represent growth of 3.66 per cent from the 8.2 trillion yuan lent out by mainland banks last year.
The Big Four are usually allotted a combined 30 to 40 per cent share of total new loans.
May Yan, an analyst at Barclays Capital, recommended that investors stay positive on Chinese bank shares in the near term as the loan target is "accommodative", which could help ease pressure from rising non-performing loan ratios.
Regulators have told lenders to focus this year on controlling risk, which is mounting from companies' defaults and the under-regulated, swelling shadow banking system.
ICBC would probably have an annual loan quota of 900 billion yuan, 4 per cent higher than last year, while the quota for Agricultural Bank was likely to rise 8 per cent, or about 700 billion yuan, the newspaper reported.
Construction Bank's share would rise 11 per cent to 840 billion yuan but BOC's quota might drop from last year's estimated 600 billion yuan to 500 billion yuan this year, the report said.
New loans granted by the Big Four banks in the first two weeks of this year amounted to 270 billion yuan, Shanghai-based Shenyin Wanguo Securities reported this week.
Analysts estimate new loans could reach 1.2 trillion yuan to 1.35 trillion yuan this month, up 62 per cent to 83 per cent from a year ago.
"The reportedly strong new loans suggest loan demand is likely to be strong this month, which also should support bank shares," Yan said.