Saturday, 2 November 2013

China money market rates soar to 4-month high

October 30, Wednesday, China’s money market rates pointed on to a four-month high, a day following the country’s central bank instill funds into the market to relieve worries that it was preparing to considerably constrict credit situation.

The seven-day report rate, observed as a key measure of confidence to lend in the interbank markets, rose to around 5.59 percent – up about 64 basis points from the prior day.

Analysts said that the jump in rates was seasonal in nature and at this stage were not too concerned about a repeat of events in June when a surge in money market rates fueled fears of a credit crunch in the world’s number two economy.

They further mentioned that liquidity infused into the market this week had not been huge enough to shove overnight lending rates considerably lower. On Tuesday via an open market operation, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) infused 13 billion yuan ($2.13 billion) into money markets.

“Liquidity remains tight and the repo operation yesterday was small,” said Nizam Idris, managing director, head of strategy, fixed income and currencies atMacquarie Bank. “China is still in the process of fine-tuning rates.”

Chris Weston, chief market strategist at trading firm IG, added: “Month end is coming up and of course tax implications are being blamed for higher rates.”

No fear

With the benchmark Shanghai Composite stock index up 0.75 percent in afternoon Asia trade, Chinese markets became visible to take the spike in money market rates in stride.

Analysts put this down to assumptions that the PBOC would approach into the market with better injections of cash to alleviate any doubts that it was geting ready to constrict monetary conditions in a big way.

On Tuesday and Thursday, the PBOC usually carry out reverse-repurchase operations, an opportunity for it to inject liquidity into Chinese money markets.

“They [PBOC policymakers] will probably provide liquidity on Thursday – at this point they don’t want to risk the market freezing up again,” said Yii Hui Wong, rates and foreign exchange strategist at BNP Paribas. “I still don’t anticipate there’s going to be a liquidity squeeze of the same scale as June.”

The seven-day report rate went up to a record high above 10 percent and the overnight report rate jumped as high as 30 percent in June.

Wong said one reason for the jump in the seven-day report rate could be a 28 billion yuan ($4.60 billion) auction on Wednesday of one-year bills at a higher-than-expected yield of 4.01 percent.

“The market was expecting [a yield of] 3.8 percent and there’s a question of whether China may be guiding rates higher,” Wong said.

Idris at Macquarie added: “At this level, I don’t think the spike in rates will lead to fresh jitters, but if we get above 6 percent then we could get concerns about growth and slamming on the breaks too hard.”

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