China Banking Research

Over the last few decades, the Chinese Central Bank has accumulated massive foreign exchange reserves making it the world’s largest holder at $3.44 trillion. Furthermore the expansion of these reserves, which has accelerated dramatically since 2000, has shown no signs of slowing. Figure one shows foreign reserve levels in China compared with Japan, the world’s second largest holder, along with the United States. Figure two shows the trajectory of China’s foreign reserve levels over the last three decades, which is now over 300 times larger than in 1980.

China’s Central Bank has been rapidly shifting towards full interest rate liberalization. On July 20th, 2013, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced liberalizing the loan interest rate. With this announcement, the deposit interest rate ceiling is the last variable waiting to be liberalized in China.

With interest rates liberalization now on the horizon, competition in deposit interest rates is heating up. Many joint-stock banks have recently increased their long term deposit interest rates about 10%. Everbright Bank increased its 2-year term deposit interest rate from 3.75% to 4.125%, 3-year term deposit interest rate from 4.25% to 4.675%, and 5-year term deposit interest rate from 4.75% to 5.125%. It will be effective until the end of 2013. Since 2012, many city commercial banks have increased their deposit interest rate. We can see the interest rate liberalization trend, and it is currently affecting China’s banking sector from local banks to joint-stock banks, and maybe state-owned banks in the near future.

Increased Bank Deposit Rates in China 

 

 

In respond to Chinese national policy, Chinese banks have been actively advancing and cooperating with small and micro-enterprises in the lending business. The total small and micro-enterprise loan balance keeps climbing, and the proportion of small and micro-enterprise loan to total corporate loan remains on a stable level. Recently, the small and micro-enterprise loan balance reached to 12.25 trillion Yuan, and 28.6% of corporate loan belongs to small and micro-enterprises. The increase in small and micro-enterprise loan not only effectively relieves the constraint of funding issues for the companies, but also promotes the transformation of small and micro enterprises in China.

A look at how small and micro enterprise lending is growing.

Considered one of the best retail banks in China, China Merchant Bank (CMB) has started their private banking business in 2007. At the end of 2012, CMB's pre-tax profit from their private banking business reached 2.3 billion yuan. Other major banks in China have similarly increased their wealth management profit since 2010, when growth of the market really accelerated.

ICBC and BOC still have the largest private banking AUM among the top 5 while CMB has the most private banking centers to serve its HNWI customers. The high net worth customer segment (over 10M RMB in investable assets) is growing at 18% growth rate and reached to 700,000 by the end of 2012. It seems that banks have finally cracked the code and wealth management is set to grow in China. 

Potential of private banking

As part of Kapronasia's continuing webinar series, our next webinar on July 10th will be looking at Operational Risk Management in China's banking system. Given the events of recent weeks, risk management is once again key consideration for Chinese banks. To register for the webinar, please click here. 

With the liquidity crunch increasing in June and the interbank rate jumping to new highs, many state-owned banks are attempting to use the increased average wealth management product (WMP) yield to ease the tightened liquidity. Based on data from JRJ, the average monthly WMP yields in major state-owned banks increased in June compared to May based on the monthly average yields of the top 10 WMP in the bank. The average yields increased from 3.84% to 4.38% in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), 4.16% to 4.57% in the Bank of China (BOC), 3.77% to 4.11% in the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), and 3.58% to 4.44% in China Construction Bank (CCB).

Chart showing monthly average wealth management product yield in china's state owned banks 

 

 

 

 

We mentioned earlier this week that there had been a sharp uptick in the Shanghai Interbank rate in the past month. This peaked last night at about 13%. With the attention, rightly so, that this is getting, it's worth taking a look at the issue and what's involved. 

According to data released by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the interbank lending rate (weighted average interest rate) increased from 2.55% in April 2013 to 2.92% in May which will affect banking liquidity requirements. The interbank lending rate decreased from 2.77% to 2.47% in March, and it started to increase in April and May. The interbank lending rate in May is 0.42% higher year on year. The total interbank lending turnover was 21.85 trillion yuan, and the daily turnover reached 993 billion yuan.

 

 

 

 

Based on data released from the PBOC, bank card issuance in Q1 has increased 4.5% compared to 2012 Q4 to reach a total of 3.69 billion cards issued. Within the issued 3.69 billion cards, the total number of debit cards issued was 3.65 billion and total credit card issuance reached to 0.34 billion. From Q1 2012, the issued bank cards have had a steady growing trend which indicates that bank cards have becoming more and more Important as a payment method in China. Domestically, 10.6 billion bank card transactions happened in Q1 2013, and the total transaction value was 100.27 trillion yuan which increased 23.9% and 19.3% compared to Q1 2012.

 

Chinese Bankcard issuance

Page 14 of 17