China partially rolls over maturing medium term loans, rate unchanged

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Headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, is pictured in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI, July 15 (Reuters) - China's central bank partially rolled over maturing medium-term loans on Thursday, the same day as a cut in the banks' reserve requirements takes effect.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) said in a statement it was keeping the interest rate on 100 billion yuan ($15.46 billion) worth of one-year medium-term lending facility (MLF) loans to some financial institutions steady at 2.95% from previous operations.

The fresh fund injection did not cover all the expiring MLF loans with a value of 400 billion yuan due on the same day.

The PBOC said the fund injection was meant to "keep banking system liquidity reasonably ample" as many institutions still had mid- to long-term cash demand amid the tax payment season, according to an online statement.

Last week the PBOC cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, releasing around 1 trillion yuan in long-term liquidity to underpin China's post-COVID economic recovery, which is starting to lose momentum.

Compared with the long-term low cost of funds from RRR cuts, MLF loans are rather expensive, and a total of 3.75 trillion yuan worth of such MLF loans are set to expire in the remainder of this year.

The PBOC had said in the RRR cut decision that it would some of the liquidity released to help financial institutions repay maturing MLF loans, but it did not specify any of the details in Thursday's statement.

However, China's surprise RRR cut decision has fuelled speculation about further monetary easing to prop up the economy. Some market watchers say a cut in the country's benchmark loan prime rate may be next, possibly as early as next week. read more

"Overall, we expect Beijing's policies to carefully manage the conflicting priorities of limiting carbon emissions, capping gains in commodity prices and all while prolonging economic recovery," Eugenia Victorino, head of Asia strategy at SEB, said earlier this week.

In the same statement, the PBOC said it had injected another 10 billion yuan worth of seven-day reverse repos into the financial system, offsetting same amount of such loans due on the same day.

($1 = 6.4688 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Kim Coghill

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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