China Central Bank Update: Stable MLF Rates Signal Upcoming Rate Cuts


The People's Bank of China today conducted a 125 billion yuan MLF (Medium-term Lending Facility) operation, with the winning interest rate maintained at 2.50%, unchanged from before.

Today, the People's Bank of China conducted a 125 billion yuan Medium-term Lending Facility (MLF) operation, maintaining the interest rate at 2.50%, unchanged and on par with previous levels. This operation is aimed at maintaining ample liquidity within the banking system. At the same time, with the expiration of 125 billion yuan in MLF, the central bank achieved a net zero injection and withdrawal for the month through MLF operations.

This operation comes after the People's Bank of China announced the issuance timetable for super-long-term special government bonds. According to an announcement by the Ministry of Finance, the first tender of 40 billion yuan in 30-year special government bonds will take place on May 17. The Macro Team at Galaxy Securities believes this indicates that reductions in reserve requirement ratios and interest rates are imminent. They note that a reduction in reserve requirements could come soon, with interest rate cuts potentially occurring in the second quarter.

In March, the central bank net withdrew funds in MLF operations for the first time, a trend which had not been seen before, and continued to roll over MLF operations in excess for 15 consecutive months. This stability in operations indicates the central bank's cautious stance on policy.

However, some analysts hold different views. The Macro Team at China Merchants Securities believes that while the overall trend of a loose monetary policy will continue, the method of implementation might change. They emphasize that the current focus is on preventing a downward spiral in inflation and maintaining exchange rate stability, hence monetary policy may shift from price-oriented easing to quantity-oriented easing. In the short term, policy adjustments like reductions in reserve requirement ratios and interest rate cuts may not be implemented immediately while dealing with the issuance of super-long-term special government bonds and curbing speculative capital arbitrage.

There is uncertainty in the market regarding the future direction of the central bank's monetary policy. However, as the super-long-term special government bonds are issued, the likelihood of reductions in reserve requirements and interest rates marginally increases, which may affect currency flexibility and potentially trigger reductions in reserve requirements during the accelerated issuance of government debt.



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Medium-term Lending Facility (MLF)

MLF operations aim to regulate the liquidity of the banking system, support the implementation of monetary policies, and maintain the stability of the financial market.

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