China's seven-day repo hits near six-year high despite PBOC cash injection
- Seven-day reverse repo rate, one of the PBOC's main policy rates, now stands at 2.2%.
SHANGHAI: China's short-term money rates remained elevated on Monday, as the central bank refrained from making a heavier liquidity injection with cash conditions still tight ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holidays, which start on Feb. 11.
The volume-weighted average rate of benchmark seven-day repo traded in the interbank market rose to 3.1955% in early trade, its highest since April 2015, compared with the previous close of 3.1587%. By midday, it traded at 3.1713%.
The Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor) for the same tenor, the Chinese yuan equivalent of Libor, rose to 3.194%, its highest since April 2015, from 3.071% on Friday.
On Monday, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) net injected 98 billion yuan ($15.17 billion) worth of seven-day reverse repos after draining a total of 216.5 billion yuan from financial system in January.
The drain last month prompted some speculation that a shift to a tighter monetary policy stance may be underway, but some analysts said tighter cash conditions could suggest that the authorities were wary of risks of asset bubbles.
"We expect the PBOC to keep the money market balanced to limit excessive risk taking," said Eugenia Victorino, head of Asia strategy at SEB in Singapore.
"Financial discipline, not monetary policy tightening, will keep financial conditions tight."
PBOC adviser Ma Jun said last week that risks of asset bubbles will remain if China doesn't make appropriate shifts in its monetary policy stance amid recent fast-growing leverage.
"Tight funding situation should ease after month-end effect faded, fund conditions will be stable before the Lunar New Year holiday," said Ming Ming, head of fixed income research at CITIC Securities.
Ming expected the general liquidity to be balanced with a tightening bias around the holiday, with money rates fluctuating either side of policy rates.
Seven-day reverse repo rate, one of the PBOC's main policy rates, now stands at 2.2%.
Signs of liquidity stress were also seen in offshore markets. Hong Kong Monetary Authority's (HKMA) 10 billion yuan quota for intra-day yuan funding has been nearly used up as of 0300 GMT, according to Refintiv data.
The volume-weighted average rate for the overnight tenor remained elevated, although it was down 53 bps at 2.7994% from a near six-year high of 3.3334% at the previous close.
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