BEIJING — China’s central bank injected 1.19 trillion yuan (around $170 billion) this week to maintain market liquidity before the Lunar New Year holiday when demand for funds surges.
The weekly injection through regular open market operations of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) was the largest in record.
On Jan 22 alone, the central bank pumped 60 billion yuan into the money market via 14-day reverse repos and 28-day reverse repos, a process by which central banks purchase securities from banks with an agreement to sell them back in the future.
The 14-day reverse repos were priced to yield 2.4 percent, while the 28-day reverse repos have a bid rate of 2.55 percent, according to a PBOC statement.
The capital injection comes at a time of tight liquidity. Chinese companies typically pay salaries and bonuses before the holiday, which falls on Jan 28 this year. People also traditionally exchange cash and gifts during the period.
It is standard practice for the PBOC to inject large amounts of liquidity into the banking system ahead of the Lunar New Year. Otherwise, the increased demand for cash causes liquidity conditions to tighten significantly and interbank rates to surge during the holiday.
On Jan 22 ’s interbank market, the benchmark overnight Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (SHIBOR) fell to 2.189 percent, after rising for seven consecutive days.
The seven-day SHIBOR rose to 2.607 percent, up 1.4 basis points, while the three-month Shibor climbed to 3.8301 percent, up 0.88 basis points.