BEIJING, SHANGHAI: China’s central bank said on Wednesday it has set up a relending facility worth more than 200 billion yuan ($27.59 billion) to help manufacturers and other companies upgrade their equipment, as part of a push to revive flagging demand.
The People’s Bank of China said in a statement that it will provide low-cost funds to financial institutions and guide them to lend to firms to support such upgrades. The loans will be issued on a monthly basis, and the interest rate for qualified firms will be no higher than 3.2 percent from Sept. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2022, the central bank added. China’s one-year loan prime rate is currently 3.65 percent.
The lending facility will support sectors including education, health, culture, tourism and sports, electric vehicle chargers, urban underground facilities, new infrastructure and industrial digital transformation, the central bank said.
The PBoC has increasingly relied on structural, or targeted policy tools, including low-cost loans, to support the slowing economy, as it faces limited room to cut interest rates for fear of fueling capital flight and inflation.
The PBoC has rolled out relending facilities to support the transport, logistics and storage sectors that have been hit hard by COVID-19, as well as carbon emission reduction, tech innovation and elderly care.
On Sept. 14, China’s Cabinet announced steps to support equipment upgrades by companies, extending a raft of measures to bolster the COVID-ravaged economy.
China’s onshore yuan extended losses on Wednesday to end the domestic session at its lowest level against the dollar since the global financial crisis of 2008, while the offshore yuan hit a record low, pressured by expectations of more US rate hikes.
Currency traders said the yuan was reacting to broad greenback strength in global markets as the dollar hit a fresh two-decade peak against a basket of currencies, buoyed by safe-haven demand and a hawkish Federal Reserve.
In onshore markets, the yuan finished the domestic trading session at 7.2458 per dollar, its weakest such close since January 2008 and down 658 pips or 0.91 percent from previous late night close of 7.18.
The offshore yuan followed suit and weakened 1.15 percent on the day to trade at 7.2635 around 0830 GMT.
China may tweak a proposed sharp increase in refined fuel export quotas for this year by extending the plan into next year, as it weighs the benefits to the economy of higher exports against low domestic stocks and operational challenges, four sources told Reuters.
However, the four sources with direct knowledge of the matter — and three others — said the government was still reviewing the matter.
The market has been widely expecting China to release a fifth batch of fuel export quota of up to 15 million tons for the rest of the year, which would be its largest so far in 2022 and lift China’s sagging exports.
The proposal from refiners’ planning departments, following a government call to boost trade, has led some refiners to ready an increase in output to take advantage of the quota.