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China Extends 1 Bln Yuan to SME Credit Guarantors

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China's Ministry of Finance (MOF) supplied 1 billion yuan (about US$146.3 million) to 330 qualified credit guarantee institutions nationwide in the second half of February, the MOF said in an online statement on Monday.

The funds would help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) get bank loans, it said. The credit guarantee institutions insure loans.

Central government subsidies would also support guarantee business for SMEs and help them raise development capital, the ministry said.

SMEs are companies with assets of less than 10 million yuan or annual sales of less than 30 million yuan, according to the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

The 330 credit guarantee institutions ensured loans of 114.8 billion yuan for about 40,000 SMEs in 2008, according to the MOF.

Capital shortages have long hampered the development of SMEs, as lenders consider such borrowers more risky.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2009)