Chinese aggregate financing fell to 1.23T yuan ($204B) in December from 1.63T yuan a year earlier, but came in above consensus of 1.14T yuan.
Still, that and other data reflect the impact of the efforts by the People's Bank of China to rein in ballooning credit growth even at the expense of slower economic expansion.
New loans dropped to 482.5B yuan in December from 624.6B yuan in November and missed forecasts of 600B yuan.
Foreign-exchange reserves increased to a record $3.82T at the end of December from $3.66T in September.
The broad M2 money supply rose 13.6% on year in December vs +14.2% in November and consensus of +13.98%.
"The slowing M2 growth in December showed central bank's tightening measures have started to bite," says economist Jiang Chao.
However, the central bank is apparently not having it all its own way, and has reportedly become frustrated at the lack of desire of the China Banking Regulatory Commission to strengthen the regulation of banks' relationships with shadow lenders.
Meanwhile, at least nine Chinese provinces have set reduced growth targets for this year.
The Shanghai composite is -0.2%.