SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Banks in the central Chinese province of Henan have pledged to extend more than 450 billion yuan ($67.47 billion) in new loans to "key sectors" this year to aid their restructuring efforts, the local regulator said in a notice published on Sunday.
"The banking sector plays an important role in the real economy amid current difficulties and downward economic pressures, and it has become an urgent requirement to increase funding, optimize financial services and promote the healthy and stable development of the economy," the Henan branch of the China Banking Regulatory Bureau said.
The announcement comes as Henan province plans to shut 62.54 million tonnes of coal and 2.4 million tonnes of crude steel capacity over the 2016-2018 period as part of its contribution to nationwide efforts to tackle price-sapping capacity gluts.
The province also plans to hand out 2.18 billion yuan this year to help coal and steel firms fund layoffs from the two sectors.
In a statement published on the province's official website (http://www.henan.gov.cn), the regulator said the banks also pledged to offer full support to a 8,000-strong pipeline of major projects in Henan, as well as 100 public-private partnerships.
It said it would support companies that are "in accord with the direction of state policies" in their efforts to restructure, upgrade their equipment and products, and cut excess capacity.
Financial support will also be extended to bolster the reform efforts of major state-owned firms like the Pingdingshan Shenma Coal Group, the Zhengzhou Coal Group and the Anyang Steel Group, it said.
"For the reform of key sectors like coal, steel and nonferrous metals, we will continue to offer help and control, and deal with each case on its merit," the regulator said.
($1 = 6.6694 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)