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Key lending rate kept unchanged in China

2020-3-22 15:02

Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in a counting machine at a bank in Beijing, China, March 30, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

 

Experts: PBOC has enough policy tools to cut borrowing costs when required

 

The People's Bank of China, the central bank, left its key benchmark lending rate unchanged on Friday amid expectations that it would follow its global counterparts in lowering financing costs to boost economic activity.

 

The PBOC maintained the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) at 4.05 percent on Friday, the same as in February, and the five-year LPR, a key gauge of mortgage rates, at 4.75 percent. The LPR reflects the lending rate that 18 banks offer to their best clients. It did not make any changes to the medium-term lending facility (MLF) and maintained it at 3.15 percent. It had infused $14 billion into the financial system through this facility recently.

 

Analysts said though the central bank did not make the much-anticipated cut, it still has enough policy tools to use in the following weeks to lower the borrowing costs.

 

Ma Jun, a member of the PBOC Monetary Policy Committee, said on Friday that some commercial banks have lowered their lending rates after the PBOC shored up liquidity by $79 billion through reserve recruitment ratio (RRR) cuts earlier in the week. Other lenders may need more time to adjust the rates, he said.

 

The PBOC still has enough room to further cut the RRR, broadly or in a targeted manner, to maintain a certain growth rate in broad money supply and stabilize the economy, said Ma. "The central bank can also strengthen its open market operations if required."

 

Leading central banks across the world undertook emergency rate cuts in the past few days to counter capital market turbulence. The US Federal Reserve slashed its policy rate to nearly to zero on Sunday. The Bank of England cut its policy rates by 50 basis points.

 

"Monetary easing in other nations has been mostly to contain the shocks caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak, just like what the PBOC did at an earlier stage. Since China has made considerable advances in controlling the epidemic, there is no need for the PBOC to take any immediate action," said Sheng Songcheng, deputy head of the Shanghai-based CEIBS Lujiazui Institute of International Finance and a former official of the central bank.

 

China's policies have largely focused on controlling the epidemic, promoting economic growth and easing financial difficulties of small and medium-sized enterprises, said Sheng. "The US Fed has said its aim was to facilitate credit and prevent short-term disruptions from turning into long-term recession."

 

Some economists had expected the PBOC to cut interest rates, including the deposit rate, in the first half of April, to support production resumption and encourage banks to issue cheaper loans. To deliver on the promise of lowering financing costs, the PBOC may have to rely on more effective ways to lower rates, said a research note from Japanese brokerage Nomura Securities.

 

"The PBOC is likely to make a 25 basis point cut to both the one-year benchmark deposit rate and the one-year MLF rate in the coming weeks," said Lu Ting, chief economist for China at Nomura.

 

"In addition to rate cuts, we also expect more financial relief and monetary or credit easing measures in the coming months, including further liquidity injections through channels such as the MLF, targeted MLF and RRR cuts, using lending facilities such as pledged supplementary lending (PSL) to fund loan extensions, and reductions in interest payments," he said.

 

"However, due to the unique nature of this virus-led shock and the constraints on Beijing's policy space, we believe that Beijing will likely forego a massive stimulus package on a par with those implemented during the 2008-09 and 2014-16 easing cycles," said Lu.

 

Ben Luk, a senior multi-asset strategist at State Street Global Markets, a US-based brokerage, said there was no certainty that the PBOC would not lower the rates.

 

"While we cannot rule out that the PBOC could push benchmark rate lower after leaving it practically unchanged since 2015, the impact of such a move on the real economy is rather limited," he said.

 

"The benchmark rate is already near its lowest level in the last few decades as the PBOC has aggressively reduced rates during the 2015 market rout. In addition, most of the new loans have moved away from the benchmark rate and are instead pegged to the MLF," he said. "Therefore, it is more prudent for the PBOC to lower the MLF and subsequently the LPR to provide funding to consumers and banks with less capital buffer."

 

2016年3月30日,在中国北京的一家银行里,100元人民币被放在一台点钞机里。【图片/机构】


专家:央行有足够的政策工具在必要时降低借贷成本


中国人民银行(pboc)周五维持基准贷款利率不变。市场预期,中国央行将效仿全球其它央行,降低融资成本,以提振经济活动。


中国人民银行周五将一年期贷款优惠利率(LPR)维持在4.05%,与2月份相同,而5年期贷款优惠利率(一个衡量抵押贷款利率的关键指标)维持在4.75%。LPR反映了18家银行向他们最好的客户提供的贷款利率。它没有对中期贷款安排(MLF)做出任何改变,并将其维持在3.15%。它最近通过这一工具向金融系统注入了140亿美元。


分析师表示,尽管央行没有下调利率,但未来几周仍有足够的政策工具来降低借贷成本。


中国人民银行货币政策委员会委员马军上周五表示,在中国人民银行本周早些时候通过下调存款准备金率(RRR)将流动性提高790亿美元之后,一些商业银行已经下调了贷款利率。他说,其他银行可能需要更多时间来调整利率。


马说,中国人民银行仍然有足够的空间来进一步降低存款准备金率,以保持一定的广义货币供应增长率和稳定经济。“如果需要,央行也可以加强其公开市场操作。”


过去几天,全球主要央行纷纷紧急降息,以应对资本市场动荡。美联储(fed)周日将政策利率下调至接近于零的水平。英国央行(Bank of England)将其政策利率下调了50个基点。


“其他国家的货币宽松主要是为了遏制新型冠状病毒爆发造成的冲击,就像中国央行在早些时候所做的那样。上海中欧国际工商学院陆家嘴国际金融研究所副所长、央行前官员盛松成表示:“由于中国在控制疫情方面取得了相当大的进展,央行没有必要立即采取任何行动。”


盛说,中国的政策主要集中在控制疫情,促进经济增长,缓解中小企业的财务困难。“美联储曾表示,其目标是为信贷提供便利,防止短期供应中断演变为长期衰退。”


一些经济学家曾预计,中国央行将在4月上半月下调包括存款利率在内的利率,以支持恢复生产,并鼓励银行发行更廉价的贷款。日本券商野村证券(Nomura Securities)的一份研究报告称,为了兑现降低融资成本的承诺,中国央行可能不得不依靠更有效的方式来降低利率。


野村证券(Nomura)中国首席经济学家陆挺表示:“未来几周,中国央行可能将一年期基准存款利率和一年期中期贷款利率同时下调25个基点。”


“除了降息外,我们还会有更多金融救助和货币在未来几个月或信贷宽松措施,包括进一步通过渠道如MLF流动性挹注,削减目标MLF和存款准备金率,使用承诺追加贷款等贷款设施(PSL)基金贷款扩展,减少利息支出,”他说。


陆慷说:“然而,由于这一由病毒引发的冲击的独特性质和北京政策空间的限制,我们相信北京可能会放弃一个大规模的刺激计划,这个计划与2008-09年和2014-16年的宽松周期所实施的计划相当。”


总部位于美国的券商道富环球金融有限公司(State Street Global Markets)资深多元资产策略师本•卢克(Ben Luk)表示,目前还不能确定中国央行不会下调利率。


他表示:“尽管我们不能排除中国央行可能在自2015年以来基本保持基准利率不变的情况下下调基准利率,但此举对实体经济的影响相当有限。”


由于中国央行在2015年股市暴跌期间大幅降息,基准利率已接近过去几十年的最低水平。此外,大多数新增贷款已不再采用基准利率,而是与中期贷款利率挂钩。“因此,对于中国央行而言,更谨慎的做法是降低最低贷款率,然后是降低最低贷款率,为消费者和银行提供较少的资本缓冲。”

 

原作者: CHEN JIA 来自: china daily