Restaurants, hotels and offices stand empty across China. Tens of millions are confined at home as the coronavirus spreads. China’s central bank has cut its benchmark lending rate. Big lenders are expected to loosen credit too, even as they face a surge of up to $1.1-trillion in questionable loans.

S&P Global Ratings predicts non-performing loans will rise to four times the figure for 2019 on the balance sheets of commercial banks. The total will be higher if the epidemic is worse than forecast.

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