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03328 BANKCOMM
RTNominal down3.810 -0.060 (-1.550%)
Research Report

18/08/2020 14:40

Chinese banks' profitability pressured as loans repriced

[ET Net News Agency, 18 August 2020] Moody's Investors Service said in a new report
that China's new loan prime rate (LPR), which was reintroduced in August 2019 and has
functioned well to bring down lending costs in the coronavirus economy in 2020, will
further weaken banks' profitability as more loans come to be repriced on lowered LPR.
"We expect banks' lending income will weaken as more outstanding floating rate loans
switch to being LPR-based and as the government grants loan-rate caps and regulatory
forbearance on loan payments to support economic recovery," said Yan Li, a Moody's
Assistant Vice President and Analyst.
The LPR is now broadly used as the reference rate of Chinese bank loans, with more than
90% of new floating interest rate loans already repriced at the end of 2019. Moody's
expects the People's Bank of China (PBOC) will continue using the LPR to drive down
lending rates. The central bank has mandated that banks use the LPR as the benchmark for
all new floating interest rate loan contracts that commence after 1 January 2020, and all
outstanding loans must be repriced under the new benchmark by August 2020.
"We expect the decline in average loan yields will quicken as more loans are repriced
under it, especially as the LPR has declined by 46 basis points between August 2019 and
June 2020," added Li.
Profitability pressure will vary across banks, with small banks under more pressure in
an interest-rate-sensitive market as they rely more on interest and investment income.
To make up for lost profit, banks may shift their risk appetite in terms of credit
selection, which could challenge their loan underwriting and raise their asset risk. Some
banks could also seek to change the tenor of their loan portfolios' composition to adjust
the exposures to be repriced. This could add to their interest rate risk and
asset-liability duration mismatch, which they may not be able to hedge effectively given
China's underdeveloped derivatives market and banks' limited experience using such tools.
(KL)

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