China’s biggest banks more than doubled the bad loans they wrote off last year, a sign financial strains are mounting as growth in the world’s second largest economy slows, the Financial Times reported Sunday. The five biggest Chinese banks, which account for more than half of all loans in the country, removed 59 billion yuan (US$9.5 billion) from their books in debts that could not be collected, according to their 2013 results. The figure is up 127 per cent from 2012, and the highest since the banks were rescued from insolvency, recapitalized and publicly listed over the past decade, the report said. The sharp rise in write-offs is the latest indication of the turbulence buffeting China’s financial system. The bond market suffered its first true default in March, two high-profile shadow bank investment products were spared from collapse by last-minute bailouts earlier this year, and a small rural lender suffered a brief bank run last week, the report said.
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