COMBINED lending by all lenders nationwide last month will not exceed June's total even though the "big four" state-owned banks loaned more money in July to spur economic growth.

The four lenders - the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, the Bank of China and the Agricultural Bank of China - extended 220 billion yuan (US$34.5 billion) of new loans last month, up 30 billion yuan from June, Shanghai Securities News reported yesterday, citing unidentified sources.

Some analysts said total lending by all banks in July may top 650 billion yuan while others projected it to be 600 billion yuan or less.

The four biggest normally account for 30-40 percent of total lending.

In terms of maturity, the credit structure of the new loans did not improve, the newspaper said. Market watchers were concerned whether banks had started to lend money to projects that would help stabilize economic growth.

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