Medium-term Lending Facility (MLF)

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  • Terminology

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.


The Medium-term Lending Facility (MLF) is a monetary policy tool by which central banks provide medium-term (typically 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year) liquidity support to commercial banks. This mechanism allows commercial banks to borrow funds from the central bank at lower interest rates to stabilize market liquidity and encourage interbank lending.


The MLF was first implemented by the People's Bank of China, aiming to improve the effectiveness of traditional monetary policy tools and better control market liquidity. The introduction of the MLF marks an innovation and adjustment in the implementation of monetary policy by central banks.

Operational Mechanism:

MLF operations are usually conducted through bidding. The central bank first determines the overall amount and interest rate of the MLF, and then opens it to bids from commercial banks. Participating banks submit their applications based on their own needs and the requirements of the central bank, which ultimately decides the allocation of funds.

Purpose and Impact:

  1. Market Liquidity Management: The MLF can effectively manage market liquidity, particularly providing quick liquidity boosts during times of market tightness.
  2. Interest Rate Adjustment: By adjusting the interest rate of the MLF, central banks can indirectly influence market interest rates, thereby affecting economic activity.
  3. Credit Control: The MLF helps central banks to more precisely control the total volume of credit, guiding banks in the rational allocation of resources.
  4. Financial Stability: In times of instability in financial markets, the MLF can serve as a stabilizing tool, mitigating market fluctuations.

Relationship with Other Monetary Policy Tools:

The MLF differs from traditional monetary policy tools such as reverse repurchase agreements and reserve requirement ratios. It focuses more on medium-term liquidity management rather than short-term adjustments. Additionally, the MLF demonstrates greater flexibility and specificity in its operational approach and objectives.

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