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News Analysis: Long-term loan surge to benefit economy

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BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Medium- and long-term corporate lending accounted for more new loans in February than in the previous month, indicating mild economic recovery, analysts said Tuesday.

New medium- and long-term corporate lending accounted for 45.6 percent of new lending in February, much higher than the 29 percent seen in January, the central bank said last Sunday.

The rebound indicates improving expectations for corporate profits and a steady increase in credit demand in the real economy, said E Yongjian, financial analyst with the Bank of Communications.

Medium- and long-term corporate lending refers to loans with a period of over one year that are provided by commercial banks for fixed-asset investment. The amount of such loans can indicate changes in corporate investment and China's economy.

Such lending began to account for a smaller percentage of new loans in the second half of 2011. Monetary policies implemented in late 2012 cut corporate financing costs and aided the rebound, according to data from the People's Bank of China (PBOC).

China Merchants Securities, one of the country's top brokers, said the loan increase was greater than at any time in 2012, indicating a favorable situation for fixed-asset investment.

Based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector stayed above 50 percent for the fifth consecutive month in February, indicating continued expansion.

Backed by increasing financing demand, new lending in March is expected to show a remarkable rebound despite last month's drop, E said.

The PBOC announced Sunday that new yuan-denominated lending, which stood at 620 billion yuan (99.71 billion U.S. dollars) last month, shrank in February.

Lian Ping, chief economist with the Bank of Communications, attributed the decline to fewer working days in February and inadequate deposits at some banks.

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