Shanghai overnight loan rate hits 2-year high

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The cost of overnight lending in China hit its highest level in two years amid greater regulatory scrutiny of risky financial instruments and following comments from Xi Jinping calling for stronger efforts to maintain the country’s financial security.

The Shanghai interbank overnight lending rate rose to 2.792 per cent on Thursday, the highest level since April 3, 2015.

Earlier in the day state news agency Xinhua reported that President Xi Jinping had called for concrete efforts to maintain financial security in comments made during the quarterly economic meeting of the Chinese Communist party’s politburo in Beijing.

“Finance is the core of a modern economy,” Mr Xi said, according to Xinhua. “We must do a good job in the financial sector in order to ensure stable and healthy economic development.” The People’s Bank of China later released a statement vowing it would follow his instructions.

Those comments come as regulators have stepped up scrutiny of financial instruments such as wealth management products and certificates of deposit – popular, high-yield products that are notoriously risky but which also underpin trillions of renminbi in trade in China’s interbank market.

The PBoC had injected Rmb134bn ($19.43bn) into the country’s banks in the month to date as of April 24 to deal with tightened liquidity, according to Natixis, which on Monday wrote that the central bank “will need to inject large amounts not to see a further spike in Shibor.”

Interest rates on other key lending rates in China’s interbank market remained elevated as well on Thursday: the seven-day rate stands at 2.9 per cent while the one-month rate has inched up to 4.0161 per cent, both near recent year-and-a-half highs hit near the end of March. The latter is up 0.7 percentage points for the year to date, while the latter has climbed 0.26 percentage points.

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