China's biggest bank said Tuesday it will curb lending for real estate and industrial projects as the government tries to limit excess investment and cool what it worries is a dangerous bubble in asset prices.
State-owned Industrial & Commercial Bank of China's announcement was the clearest sign yet of how borrowers will be affected by Beijing's effort to control credit after a flood of lending last year to support stimulus projects.
ICBC said in statement it will "strictly control" lending to real estate and industrial projects deemed too dirty or energy-intensive and those outside government development plans.
Chinese leaders have warned that reckless lending has fueled over investment in some industries such as steel and cement and a possible bubble in stock and real estate prices, which are up sharply.
Last month, banks were ordered to increase their reserves in an effort to prevent a surge in credit following a flood of lending last year to support stimulus projects.
China's banks are regarded as the healthiest of any major economy. They avoided the mortgage turmoil that battered Western institutions and are flush with cash from the country's economic boom.
Echoing government plans, ICBC said it would refuse lending to projects that fail to meet environmental guidelines.
The bank said it will reject developers that hoard vacant land or housing. The government is trying to increase the supply of affordable housing and says some developers are keeping properties off the market to help push up prices.
The industry's top regulator, Liu Mingkang, said last month that Chinese banks are expected to scale back lending to about 7.5 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) this year after handing out 9.5 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion) in 2009.
© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.