Hubei pumps 34bn yuan into helping stricken businesses

Central province joins policy bank efforts to support agricultural projects hit by pandemic fallout

by Nadeem Xu
Hubei pumps 34bn yuan into helping coronavirus-hit businesses
Wuhan, in Hubei Province, was ground zero for infections in China. Photo: Xinhua

(ATF) Hubei, the central Chinese province that saw the biggest spread of coronavirus, has poured 34bn yuan of loans into supporting major companies hardest hit by the outbreak.

As of April 15, the loans, offered by 12 banks, had been distributed to 802 major companies, Wang Yuling, head of Wuhan Branch of the People's Bank of China, told a press conference on Saturday.

These companies are mainly engaged in the production, sales and transportation of important medical supplies and life necessities. 

A "green channel" was set up to facilitate the lending process, with preferential interests offered. Another 20bn yuan will be earmarked for lending to further support the companies in the province, according to Wang. 

The move comes as Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC), an agricultural policy bank, ramped up financial support in the first quarter of this year to support farmland infrastructure building.

ADBC funded 170 farmland-related projects with 28.6 bn yuan in loans. Of the total, 22.5bn yuan was lent to support the building of farmland infrastructure, according to the bank.

READ MORE: Lanzhou infrastructure project manager sells bonds

By the end of March, outstanding loans to the sector totaled 151.7bn yuan, 21.4bn yuan more than the same period latst year.

The bank has stepped up credit support for high-yield farmland building and other key agricultural areas since the COVID-19 epidemic to ensure sufficient funding for spring farming as well as farmland infrastructure building, the ADBC said.

Meanwhile, Huaxia Bank, a mid-sized Chinese lender, raked in 22bn yuan in net profits attributable to shareholders last year, edging up 5% year-on-year, according to the company's latest report filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Revenue totaled 84.73bn yuan, an increase of 17.3%.

The bank's total assets grew 12.7 % to 3 trillion yuan at the end of last year.

Huaxia was recently granted approval from the People's Bank of China to issue up to 10bn yuan of green bonds to fund environmentally friendly projects.

According to the report, Huaxia Bank’s non-performing loan ratio stood at 1.83%, down 0.02 percentage points from a year ago. Meanwhile, its outstanding loans for small- and micro-sized enterprises reached 100bn yuan by end-2019, up 18.3%, the bank said.