BEIJING, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Chinese banks extended a record 2.9 trillion yuan ($458.3 billion) in net new yuan loans in January, well above analysts' expectations and almost five times as much as in December.
Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted new yuan loans of 2 trillion yuan, up sharply from December's 584.4 billion yuan.
Chinese banks tend to front-load loans early in the year to get higher-quality customers and win market share, but the January figure was more than highest estimate by economists in a Reuters poll.
Broad M2 money supply grew 8.6 percent in January from a year earlier, central bank data showed on Monday, beating forecasts for an expansion of 8.4 percent and compared with 8.2 percent in December.
Outstanding yuan loans grew 13.2 percent from a year earlier, faster than an expected 12.5 percent rise and compared with a rise of 12.7 percent in December.
China's banks extended a record 13.53 trillion yuan in new loans last year, up 7 percent from 2016, despite a government drive to reduce risks in the financial system from a rapid build-up in debt. ($1 = 6.3282 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kim Coghill)