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China extends more loans to support agriculture

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BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) -- China's central bank said Monday that it granted more loans in 2012 to financial institutions in rural areas in order to support agriculture.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) said in a statement on its website that the total amount of loans extended to those institutions reached 209 billion yuan (33.27 billion U.S. dollars) last year, up 22.37 percent from the previous year.

The central bank said a policy that provides more financial support for agriculture contributed to the country's ninth consecutive annual grain output increase in 2012.

China's grain output rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier to 589.57 million tonnes in 2012, marking the ninth consecutive year of growth, official data showed.

The PBOC started to provide loans to rural credit cooperatives as early as 1999 to allow them to provide more agriculture-related loans and improve financial services in rural areas.

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