SHANGHAI, March 22 (Reuters) - China’s central bank raised short-term market interest rates on Thursday for the first time this year, hours after the Federal Reserve Bank lifted U.S. benchmark rates.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) increased rates on reverse repurchase agreements, or reverse repos, used for open market operations by five basis points (bps), it said in a statement on its website.
The seven-day reverse repo rate was raised to 2.55 percent from 2.50 percent. Earlier in the day, the PBOC injected 10 billion yuan ($1.58 billion) via seven-day reverse repos, according to the same statement.
Many market watchers had expected the PBOC to follow a Fed quarter-point hike with a more modest 5-10 bps increase, but they said such a move would be largely a symbolic one after China’s leaders told parliament this month that would they press ahead with a crackdown on risks to the financial system this year.
China did not change its benchmark one-year lending and deposit rates. Those have remained unchanged since October 2015, with the central bank preferring to guide borrowing costs via liquidity operations and interbank market rates. ($1 = 6.3145 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Winni Zhou and John Ruwitch; Editing by Kim Coghill)