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China debt crunch

Bad debt swells 22% at China's big banks despite recovery

As small businesses struggle, nonperforming loans in 2020 reach $150bn

China's big four banks, including Agricultural bank of China, are seeing the amount of bad debt on their books swell.   © Reuters

HONG KONG/BEIJING -- Nonperforming debt at China's four biggest banks grew 22% last year, with the balance set to skyrocket this year if state-mandated loan extensions expire.

The Big Four banks reported that the balance of bad debt stood at 999.1 billion yuan ($152.5 billion) at the end of December, up 181 billion yuan from a year earlier.

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