China queries banks on MLF demand, expected to inject funds on Fri

SHANGHAI, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) asked some commercial banks on Monday about their demand for medium-term lending facility (MLF) loans, market sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The central bank is expected to inject the funds through the MLF loans on Friday, the sources said. It was not known how much it would inject, via which tenors or whether rates would remain unchanged.

A batch of 84 billion yuan ($12.68 billion) of 12-month MLF loans is due to mature on Oct. 13, and another two batches of such loans with a total value of 355.5 billion yuan are set to expire next week.

The PBOC has increasingly relied on MLF loans to guide medium-term interest rates and manage liquidity in the banking system.

However, China’s central bank on Sept.30 cut the amount of cash that some banks must hold as reserves for the first time since February 2016 in a bid to encourage more lending to struggling smaller firms and energize its lacklustre private sector.

$1 = 6.6270 Chinese yuan Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Kim Coghill