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93 more banks approved to issue certificates of deposit

Updated: Jul 30,2015 5:40 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s central bank on July 30 approved 93 banks, including three foreign lenders, to issue large-denomination certificates of deposit (CDs) to individuals and companies.

The move brings the total number of institutions allowed to issue the certificates to 102. On June 15, nine banks, including the “big four” state-owned lenders, started to issue the country’s first batch of large-scale CDs following the central bank allowing such trading on June 2.

CDs are tradable deposit agreements that allow lenders to bypass interest rate controls. China has removed its grip on lending rates, but the ceiling on deposit rates is still retained at 1.5 times the benchmark.

The participation threshold for purchasing a CD is set at 300,000 yuan (about $48,860) for individual investors and 10 million yuan for institutions, according to the central bank.

Interest on the certificates will be mainly determined by the market. Banks and investors can set a fixed or a floating rate, using the Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor) as a benchmark.

The introduction of CDs is seen as a step towards China fully liberalizing its interest rate mechanism.

At the annual national legislature session in March, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said the possibility of this happening this year is “very high.”