AIRLINK 86.00 Decreased By ▼ -1.20 (-1.38%)
BOP 5.03 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.2%)
CNERGY 4.12 Increased By ▲ 0.03 (0.73%)
DFML 37.52 Decreased By ▼ -0.38 (-1%)
DGKC 93.20 Decreased By ▼ -0.68 (-0.72%)
FCCL 23.75 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-0.08%)
FFBL 32.80 Increased By ▲ 0.13 (0.4%)
FFL 9.25 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
GGL 10.16 Increased By ▲ 0.13 (1.3%)
HASCOL 6.40 Decreased By ▼ -0.14 (-2.14%)
HBL 124.18 Increased By ▲ 2.26 (1.85%)
HUBC 148.61 Increased By ▲ 2.96 (2.03%)
HUMNL 10.95 Increased By ▲ 0.45 (4.29%)
KEL 4.74 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
KOSM 4.10 Decreased By ▼ -0.09 (-2.15%)
MLCF 38.89 Increased By ▲ 0.09 (0.23%)
OGDC 134.02 Decreased By ▼ -0.99 (-0.73%)
PAEL 25.50 Increased By ▲ 0.42 (1.67%)
PIBTL 6.31 Increased By ▲ 0.04 (0.64%)
PPL 118.90 Decreased By ▼ -0.78 (-0.65%)
PRL 24.40 Increased By ▲ 0.30 (1.24%)
PTC 12.31 Increased By ▲ 0.09 (0.74%)
SEARL 59.98 Increased By ▲ 0.18 (0.3%)
SNGP 64.55 Decreased By ▼ -0.45 (-0.69%)
SSGC 9.93 Decreased By ▼ -0.12 (-1.19%)
TELE 7.89 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.25%)
TPLP 9.70 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.41%)
TRG 65.00 Increased By ▲ 0.70 (1.09%)
UNITY 27.20 Increased By ▲ 0.15 (0.55%)
WTL 1.31 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.76%)
BR100 8,415 Increased By 105.5 (1.27%)
BR30 26,116 Increased By 166.5 (0.64%)
KSE100 79,518 Increased By 716.6 (0.91%)
KSE30 25,727 Increased By 288.6 (1.13%)

BEIJING: China’s central bank cut a key interest rate and pumped billions into financial markets Thursday, as fresh data showed the world’s second-largest economy was flagging.

The moves are the most significant by leaders to try to invigorate growth after indicators in recent months showed a hoped-for strong recovery following years of Covid lockdown-induced slowing was quickly running out of steam.

China’s efforts contrast with those in the United States and other Western countries, which have been forced into a series of interest rate hikes while reducing money supply to tame inflation.

Officials lowered the medium-term lending facility (MLF) rate – the interest for one-year loans to financial institutions – 10 basis points to 2.65 percent, the People’s Bank of China said in a statement.

The PBOC also said it was offering 237 billion yuan ($33 billion) of funds to banks through the medium-term lending facility, “to maintain reasonable and sufficient liquidity in the banking system”.

The announcement comes two days after unveiling a surprise cut in a short-term interest rate this week, which analysts said reflected growing concern about the state of the economy among Chinese policymakers.

The MLF rate guides the benchmark lending rate for households, businesses and mortgages, which is set to be announced next week.

A lower MLF rate reduces commercial banks’ financing costs, in turn encouraging them to lend more and potentially boosting domestic consumption.

A number of lacklustre economic indicators in recent weeks have signalled the country’s post-Covid recovery is running out of steam.

Inflation rose only 0.2 percent on-year in May, while factory activity contracted for the second consecutive month.

In another sign of weakness Thursday, figures showed youth unemployment rose to a record 20.8 percent in May.

Meanwhile, industrial production growth slowed to 3.5 percent as factories gradually returned to full capacity, while retail sales, the main indicator of household consumption, rose 12.7 percent 18.4 percent April.

Weakening momentum

Retail sales are currently “the only functioning engine of Chinese growth”, Rob Carnell, Asia-Pacific head researcher at ING, said in a note.

Thursday’s data “equates to a seasonally adjusted decrease in month-on-month sales and shows that the re-opening momentum is falling”, Carnell said.

Exports also sank in May for the first time since February, breaking a two-month growth streak.

Beijing has kept interest rates low compared with other major economies, but the near-zero inflation highlights challenges faced by policymakers in trying to stimulate growth.

Top economist and government adviser Liu Yuanchun this month called for regulators to cut borrowing costs further to ease the financing burden of small and medium-sized private businesses.

Reports have in recent days said Beijing is lining up a series of measures targeting areas of the economy, particularly the real estate sector, which makes up a huge portion of gross domestic product.

China’s six largest state-owned commercial banks cut interest rates for savers on Thursday to boost spending, according to announcements on their websites, after being asked by the central bank.

The Chinese economy is also weighed down by a debt-laden property sector and a global economic slowdown.

“We expect Beijing to ramp up transfers to local governments via an increase in the quota for special local government bonds, more lending quota for policy banks, and some direct funding from the PBOC,” Ting Lu, Chief China Economist at Nomura, said in a note earlier this week.

Comments

Comments are closed.