China central bank injects $49 billion via MLF

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-07 11:10

BEIJING - China's central bank said Tuesday that it lent 339 billion yuan ($49.13 billion) to 24 financial institutions via the medium-term lending facility (MLF).

Interest rates on the MLF were set at 2.85 percent for six-month loans and 3 percent for one-year loans, unchanged with November levels, according to a People's Bank of China statement.

The move aims to keep liquidity in the banking system "reasonable and ample," the central bank said.

The MLF tool was introduced in 2014 to help commercial and policy banks maintain liquidity by allowing them to borrow from the central bank, using securities as collateral.

The central bank has increasingly relied on open-market operations for liquidity, rather than cuts in interest rates or reserve requirement ratios to maintain prudent monetary policy.

The central bank also provides short-term cash to financial institutions in its open-market operations through reverse repurchase agreements, a process in which central banks purchase securities from banks with an agreement to resell them in the future.

Separately, the central bank injected 60 billion yuan into the banking system on Tuesday via reverse repurchases.

The benchmark overnight Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate, a measure of the cost at which Chinese banks lend to one another and a key barometer of liquidity, fell for the fourth straight trading day from a two-month high on December 1.

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