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China's housing loans risk controllable

Updated: 2012-03-05 09:30


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BEIJING -- A Chinese banking regulator on March 4 downplayed risks from the country's property-related loans, saying the overall risks of commercial banks' housing lending are "controllable."

Yan Qingmin, assistant chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the annual session of the 11th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, which opened Saturday.

The banking regulatory official's remarks came after more Chinese cities reported housing price declines.

In January, 48 cities out of the statistical pool of 70 major cities saw drops in new home prices from December, while home prices in 22 cities remained unchanged, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The CBRC's stress test on commercial banks' mortgage loans showed housing lendings account for a "relatively low" proportion in the banking system's asset portfolio, said Yan, who is also a member of the CPPCC National Committee. He didn't give any exact figures.

He said risks facing China's mortgage loans are relatively less complicated in nature, as the country has effectively controlled financial derivatives related to the real estate sector and allowed few number of financial innovation products in the market.

The official added that most of China's mortgage loans were made before 2009 when housing prices peaked in the country.

A relatively higher down payment, as well as a sound and healthy financial state of the banking sector provided a strong support for banks to ward off any possible risks, he added.