“Chinese banks will likely trim their benchmark loan prime rates Monday for the first time in months to help spur borrowing demand and reverse a sharp slump in consumer and business sentiment,” per Bloomberg’s latest survey published on late Thursday.
The one-year loan prime rate — the de facto benchmark lending rate for banks –is expected to be cut by 10 basis points to 3.6%, according to all 16 economists polled by Bloomberg. That would be the first reduction in that rate since January.
Economists are more divided on the five-year LPR, a reference for mortgage costs. The median estimate is for a 10-basis point reduction to 4.35%, though six of the 16 economists expect that rate to be trimmed by an even larger margin of 15 points. Lenders last reduced the long-term loan rate in May by 15 basis points, a record.
Some economists have warned of a ‘liquidity trap’ in China, where low interest rates fail to spur lending in the economy, given very weak consumer and business confidence levels.
Even with the recent policy rate cut and moves by banks to spur lending, economists have warned the country will need to do more to bolster growth in the months ahead, including boosting fiscal policy.
Economists have been downgrading their gross domestic product forecasts further below 4% as Covid Zero and the mortgage crisis batter the economy.