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Chinese bank financing for foreign trade surges

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BEIJING, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The volume of outstanding trade financing between banks and China's exporters and importers amounted to 2.96 trillion yuan (469 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of September, 34.2 percent higher than a year earlier, according to new official data.

The percentage was 17.8 points higher than the average growth of loans in the banking sector in both yuan and foreign currencies, a spokesman for the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said on Tuesday.

The financing volume comprised both yuan-denominated and foreign currency-denominated financing from banks.

"The CBRC has encouraged banks to step up lending support for the nation's exporting and importing enterprises, and set reasonable interest rates and service charges. These are efforts to reduce companies' financing costs and boost foreign trade," said the spokesman.

Facing pressure from dropping overseas orders, the State Council, or China's Cabinet, approved multiple measures to stabilize foreign trade in September. The package included urging banks to expand trade financing for small firms and increase credit to exporters.

Meanwhile, export-related insurance companies were asked to offer more short-term services to small and medium-sized businesses to help them explore overseas markets. The nation has also sped up export tax rebates for companies.

Amid these measures, exports rose 9.9 percent to 186.35 billion U.S. dollars last month, up from 2.7 percent registered in August. Imports also grew 2.4 percent to 158.68 billion U.S. dollars in September, ending three months of consecutive drops.

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