Bank of China considers offering bonds worth $5.8bln

BOC seeks government's approval in raising funds to replenish capital amid loan surge last year.

Regulators have warned Chinese banks that they have fallen below minimum capital requirements after handing out some 9.5 trillion yuan ($1.39 trillion) in loans last year. Banks are expected to scale back lending to roughly 7.5 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) in 2010.

Bank of China's proposal still requires shareholder approval at a meeting in March, the Xinhua News Agency said in its report late Saturday. Approval is likely a formality because the government and state-linked institutions control a majority of the bank's shares.

China's banking industry is regarded as the healthiest of any major economy because institutions avoided the mortgage-related turmoil that battered Western lenders, according to a report in Business Week.

Beijing hopes cooling the pace of lending will keep its economy growing without creating inflation and overheating. Other nations are counting on that growth and a healthy demand from China for their goods for their own recoveries.

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