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China's central bank to consider ending release of benchmark lending rates

China's central bank is studying further moves to liberalize interest rates, including possibly scrapping the publication of official benchmark lending rates, the China Securities Journal reported, citing People's Bank of China Governor Yi Gang.

The current benchmark deposit and lending rates are at an appropriate level, and the benchmark deposit rate will continue to play an important role, Yi said at a meeting held earlier in May.

Yi said that while there has been some liberalization of lending rates, there is room to explore further reform, such as looking into ending the release of benchmark lending rates, as well as trends in lending rates. He added that interest rate reforms should continue to benefit ordinary citizens and small and medium-sized enterprises that face financing difficulties.

The PBOC said in its first-quarter monetary policy report that it will continue to promote interest rate liberalization to sync benchmark rates with market rates. Lending rates dropped in the first three months of 2019, following a policy push by Chinese authorities to free up capital for small and privately owned companies.