BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhua) -- China's bank lending may expand at a "moderate" range this year and the growth rate will see a notable retreat amid the slowing economy, according to a report released Tuesday by the China Banking Association.
The association predicted new yuan-denominated loans would total 8 trillion yuan (1.27 trillion U.S. dollars) to 8.5 trillion yuan in 2012, higher than 7.47 trillion in 2011.
But the growth would be much slower than the 13.6-percent rate in 2011.
The report forecasted that the benchmark interest rates for deposits and loans would stay relatively stable but trend downward.
The report said the economic slowdown, financial reforms and tougher regulation in the banking sector would combine to drag down profit growth of Chinese banks.
Growth of interest-bearing assets will slide slightly, but will remain the major factor driving profits, the report said.
Chinese banks are among the most profitable in the world. With an interest margin of 3.06 percentage points, Chinese commercial banks saw net profits up by 36.34 percent year-on-year to 1.04 trillion yuan in 2011.