BEIJING, March 9 (Reuters) - China's total social financing (TSF), a broad measure of credit and liquidity in the economy, dropped to 1.15 trillion yuan ($166.43 billion) in February from a record 3.74 trillion yuan in January, data from the central bank showed on Thursday.
TSF includes off-balance sheet forms of financing that exist outside the conventional bank lending system, such as initial public offerings, loans from trust companies and bond sales. It can also hint at trends in China's vast shadow banking sector.
China's outstanding total social financing was 160.73 trillion yuan at the end of February, up 12.8 percent from a year earlier, the central bank said.
China has cut its economic growth target to around 6.5 percent this year to give policymakers more room to push through painful reforms to contain financial risks and address a rapid build-up in debt.
But authorities are expected to move cautiously to avoid a sharp hit to the economy. ($1 = 6.9100 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard Borsuk)