Chinese lenders Black-market banking – The Economist

From The Economist:

JUST over two years after a big unlicensed bank was last found in China, another surfaced this week. Last time the bank was based in Shanghai and operated in a small number of provinces. This time the illegal bank, which is based across the border from Hong Kong in Shenzhen, is on a far grander scale. It did business in every province of the country and its clients included state-owned enterprises and foreign multinationals. It appears to have been operating unnoticed by officials for up to eight years. In the Shenzhen area alone, it was reported to have done 4.3 billion yuan ($544m) of unspecified transactions in the year and a half to May.

According to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange , the bank’s clients had been borrowing mostly to buy fuel, cover deposits for land-use fees and pay export duties. But, as often happens, most of the lending was really for companies to make speculative investments in property and shares. This is what appears to have led to the bank’s downfall.[Full Text]

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