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Chinese credit growth slowed markedly in February, the latest sign that policymakers will prioritise risk control over stimulus in 2017.

Aggregate social financing — the central bank’s broad measure of corporate and household fundraising from all sources — increased by Rmb1.15tn in February, down from a record-high Rmb3.73tn a month earlier, the People’s Bank of China said on Thursday.

Lending typically surges in January as banks take advantage of new yearly quotas, but the February figures are likely a clearer indication of the policy stance this year.

Local-currency bank loans grew by Rmb1.03tn in February, down from 3.74tn in January. Credit flows associated with shadow banking — including trust loans, entrusted loans, and banker’s acceptances — were the biggest contributors to January’s record high, but all posted significantly slower growth in January.

Net bond financing fell outright for the third straight month, with outstanding bonds contracting by Rmb10.7bn. Tight liquidity and elevated interest rates in China’s interbank bond market has decimated bond issuance in recent months.

Broad M2 money grew 11.1 per cent from a year earlier, down from 11.3 per cent growth in January. On Sunday, premier Li Keqiang announced an M2 growth target of 12 per cent for 2017, down from last year’s 13 per cent target.

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