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The average daily balance of bank lending rose 4.0 percent in January from a year earlier as companies rushed to acquire operating capital to cover the approaching end of the 2008 business year, the Bank of Japan said Monday.

The balance, excluding loans by “shinkin” credit banks, grew for the 36th consecutive month, to ¥408.41 trillion, the central bank said in a preliminary report, confirming that companies are turning to banks for funds rather than corporate debt markets, whose liquidity has shrunk amid the global credit turmoil.

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