Chinese commercial banks' bad loan ratio remained unchanged in the third quarter amid the government's strengthened efforts to rein in risks, data from the banking regulator showed Friday.
The non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of commercial banks stood at 1.74 percent at the end of September, flat with the previous quarter, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a statement.
As of September, outstanding bad loans from commercial banks amounted to 1.67 trillion yuan (251.8 billion U.S. dollars), increasing 34.6 billion yuan from the previous quarter.
The NPL ratio declined for the first time since 2012 to the current level in the last quarter of 2016, an encouraging sign for an economy plagued by piling debt.
Seeing potential risks in the financial sector, the government has stepped up efforts to correct irregularities in the industry, targeting high-risk activities such as off-balance sheet financing.
Despite the tighter regulation, major banks reported solid Q3 earnings. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China's largest lender by market value, said its net profits increased to 75 billion yuan in Q3, up 3.4 percent from a year ago.