open market operations
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China central bank skips open market operations, liquidity ample

BEIJING: China’s central bank suspended open market operations for the 16th working day Wednesday as liquidity remained ample. The liquidity in the banking system was at a “relatively high” level, said the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on its website.

Data from information service provider Wind showed there are no reverse repos maturing this week, and the 243.5 billion yuan (about 38.4 billion U.S. dollars) of medium-term lending facility (MLF) due to be withdrawn on Thursday will be postponed until after the Spring Festival holiday.

This will help ease liquidity pressure ahead of the holiday, analysts said.  Meanwhile, the central bank’s targeted reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cut and the use of Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) will combine to ensure ample liquidity.

The central bank started to implement a targeted RRR cut last month, which allowed commercial banks whose annual outstanding or new loans in inclusive financing accounts for more than 1.5 percent of the total to enjoy a 0.5 percentage point RRR cut from the central bank’s benchmark level.

The move is expected to pump liquidity of 450 billion yuan into the market. While the funds injected through the CRA will withdraw after the holiday, Zhongtai Securities said there is no need for liquidity concerns as the central bank’s multiple policy tools will smooth the process.

The central bank increasingly relies on open-market operations, rather than changes in interest rates or reserve requirement ratios, to manage liquidity in a more flexible and targeted manner.

China will maintain a prudent and neutral monetary policy in 2018 as it strives to balance growth and risk prevention.

APP