December 20, 2018 / 2:10 AM / 5 months ago

China keeps short-term borrowing rates steady after Fed hike

Headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, is pictured in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s central bank left its short-term borrowing rates unchanged on Thursday, choosing not to follow its U.S. counterpart, which raised its benchmark rate just hours earlier.

The decision follows the bank’s announcement Wednesday of a new lending tool, the Targeted Medium-Term Lending Facility (TMLF), aimed at spurring lending to smaller firms.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) kept the interest rate on seven-day reverse bond repurchase agreements at 2.55 percent, and kept the 14-day reverse repurchase rate at 2.7 percent, it said in a statement Thursday.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised its benchmark fund rates, the fourth such increase this year, but the PBOC has only followed suit once, increasing its short- and medium-term interest rates by 5 basis points in March.

The world’s two largest economies have adopted diverging policy paths this year, with China leaning towards an easing monetary and credit stance to reduce financial costs for private business and support the broad economy.

The PBOC has made four targeted reductions to the amount of money that banks are forced to hold in reserve, known as reserve requirement ratios (RRR), so far this year.

The 7-day reverse repo is a type of short-term loan the central bank uses to increase liquidity and influence other rates in the banking system.

Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Sam Holmes

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