Friday, January 18, 2008

China Discovers $119 Billion Banking 'Irregularities'

-- China discovered 860 billion yuan($119 billion) in banking ``irregularities'' last year, almost triple the profits by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.and other ``major'' Chinese commercial banks, the regulator said. --``We must strengthen our regulatory capacity and nip theserisks in the bud,'' Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China BankingRegulatory Commission, said at the watchdog's annual planningmeeting, according to a statement posted on its Web site today. --China's ``major'' commercial banks posted combined profitsof 299 billion yuan in 2007, the statement said, withoutproviding a year-earlier figure. A July 5 report said the banks earned an aggregate pretax profit of 240.9 billion yuan in 2006. Assets at Chinese banks totaled 52.6 trillion yuan at the end oflast year, today's release said. --China's banking watchdog uncovered ``irregularities'' inits investigation of 79,200 domestic bank branches, thestatement said, without defining the term. --Domestic banks had a total of $267.4 billion in overseas assets as at the end of last year, which included their investments and branches abroad, the Chinese regulator said. --China will draft regulations on project finance and loansfor acquisitions, fixed assets, working capital and personal usein 2008, the watchdog said.

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