China

Lending benchmarks cut to arrest economic slowdown

China cut its benchmark lending rates on Monday, adding to easing measures announced last week, as Beijing steps up efforts to spur credit demand in an economy hobbled by a property crisis and a resurgence of Covid infections.

The one-year loan prime rate (LPR) was lowered by five basis points to 3.65 percent at the central bank's monthly fixing, while the five-year LPR was slashed by a bigger margin of 15 basis points to 4.30 percent.

"The asymmetrical LPR cuts came in line with our expectations," said Marco Sun, chief financial market analyst at MUFG Bank.

"The policy intention was quite obvious … as the 15 bps cut to the five-year LPR was meant to boost long-term financing demand."

The deeper cut to the mortgage reference rate on Monday underlines efforts by policymakers to stabilise the property sector after a string of defaults among developers and a slump in home sales.

The LPR cut came after the People's Bank of China lowered the Medium-term Lending Facility rate and another short-term liquidity tool last week, as authorities looked to boost credit demand in a stuttering economy.

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A raft of data, also released last week, showed the economy unexpectedly slowed in July and prompted some global investment banks, including Goldman Sachs and Nomura, to revise down their full-year gross domestic product growth forecasts for the mainland. (Reuters)

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