China's banks slowed their lending in October, the central bank announced Friday, as authorities worked to rein in credit growth.
Domestic banks extended 548.3 billion yuan ($89.5 billion) in new loans, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement, down more than a third from the 857.2 billion yuan lent in September.
The October figure fell short of a median forecast of 626 billion yuan from a Wall Street Journal poll of 11 economists.
Some analysts warned the data could reflect weak lending growth in the final quarter of 2014.
"China's disappointing monetary data suggest that the overall growth will remain soft in the last quarter of this year," ANZ economists Liu Li-Gang and Zhou Hao wrote in a research note.
"Sluggish domestic demand, plus risk-aversion sentiment among commercial banks, could have dragged the credit growth."
Lending this year is "unlikely" to surpass 9 trillion yuan, compared to 8.9 trillion yuan last year, according to ANZ.
China's economy expanded 7.3 percent in the July-September quarter, lower than the 7.5 percent in the previous three months and the slowest since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.
Analysts attributed the slowdown in new lending to China's overall goal of reining in the growth of credit while still keeping borrowing costs low.
"The central bank’s current targeted approach remains consistent with its goal of keeping borrowing costs low while at the same time addressing credit risks and slowing the pace of credit growth," Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note.
Authorities have sought to crack down on "shadow banking" -- a huge network of lending outside formal channels and beyond the reach of regulators, including activities by online finance platforms, credit guarantee companies and microcredit firms.
"Weakening supply of credit is in line with the government crackdown on shadow financing activities and banks’ concerns over credit default risks, related particularly to the property market correction which, on some indicators, has led to rising borrowing costs," Nomura analysts wrote.
Falling prices in China's property sector are a key issue for the economy and are seen as weighing on overall economic growth.
New home prices in China declined for a sixth straight month in October, according to a private survey, though the pace of the fall slowed markedly.
Chinese President Xi Jinping acknowledged that China's economy faces financial risks in a speech Sunday to a meeting of Asia-Pacific business executives in Beijing, but expressed confidence they are manageable, describing them as "not that scary".