China's off-balance-sheet financing saw a markedly narrower decline in the first two months of this year as the financial system stepped up support for the real economy.
The three forms of off-balance-sheet financing calculated by the central bank in its social financing measurement recorded a combined drop of 21.7 billion yuan (about 3.2 billion U.S. dollars) in the period, according to the People's Bank of China (PBOC).
That was a much smaller fall compared with an average monthly decrease of 209.2 billion yuan in the fourth quarter of 2018, the PBOC said.
The January-February period saw a milder decline in entrusted loans, one of the off-balance-sheet financing tools, while loans from trust companies and non-discounted bankers' acceptance bills, the other two forms of such financing, returned to growth.
Social financing is funds that individuals and non-financial firms get from the financial system. Off-balance-sheet financing, which exists outside the conventional bank lending system, is an important part of this measurement.
The improvement in off-balance-sheet financing was the result of such factors as forward-looking monetary policy fine-tuning and better regulation, according to the PBOC.
"Overall, the decline in off-balance-sheet balancing is expected to stabilize, which will better serve the demand for funds in the real economy," it said in a statement.