SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's big four state banks doubled their pace of lending in the first half of July from a month earlier, although Chinese banks' total new lending in the month is expected to fall by about a third to 650 billion yuan ($102 billion), the state-run Shanghai Securities News said on Thursday, citing sources.
The surge in the big banks' lending, estimated at 50 billion yuan in the first half of the month, in large part reflects a pickup in borrowing by government-led investment programs, the paper said.
Last month, the closely watched but highly volatile figure for total new bank lending rose to a three-month high of 919.8 billion yuan, raising hopes that policy easing may be gaining traction to fend off a feared sharp slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
China last week posted its slowest quarterly growth in three years.
Despite the rise in the June figure for total new lending, the big four saw negative growth for the month with new lending of less than 200 billion yuan, according to the official China Securities Journal.
China's "Big Four" are Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd <601398.SS><1398.HK>, China Construction Bank Corp <601939.SS><0939.HK>, Bank of China Ltd <601988.SS> <3988.HK> and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd <601288.SS> <1288.HK>. They typically account for 30 to 40 percent of total bank lending, although that proportion was sharply lower in June.
($1 = 6.3702 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Carrie Ho; Editing by Edmund Klamann)