Consumer Lending Tepid in First Quarter as China Grapples with Covid Uncertainty


Chinese consumer lending posted lacklustre growth in the first quarter of 2022, even prior to the imposition of strict lockdown measures in the financial hub of Shanghai.

As of the end of March China’s personal short-term consumer loan balance stood at 9.0644 trillion yuan, for year-on-year (YoY) growth of 3.87%, according to figures from the Chinese central bank’s “Financial Institution Renminbi Balance Sheet” (金融机构人民币信贷收支表).

As of the end of the first quarter the overall renminbi loan balance for Chinese financial institutions was 201.01 trillion yuan, for YoY growth of 11.4%, and a gap of 7.53 percentage points compared to growth in consumer finance loans.

Figures from the Shanghai branch of the Chinese central bank also point to a decline in household loans in the Shanghai area of of 1.7 billion yuan, including a fall of 17.8 billion yuan in short-term loans.

The Yangtze River Delta region that encompasses Shanghai saw an increase in household loans of 361.8 billion yuan in the first quarter, 372.0 billion yuan less than the increase for the same period last year.

Short-term loans saw an increase of just 50.6 billion yuan.