China Ratio Move Hints at Rate Hike ‘Soon,’ RBC’s Jackson Says

Brian Jackson, an emerging-markets strategist at Royal Bank of Canada in Hong Kong, talks about China’s decision to increase bank reserve ratios by a half point from April 21.

The move, taking the requirement to 20.5 percent for the nation’s biggest lenders, came less than two weeks after the central bank boosted benchmark interest rates.

Gross domestic product rose 9.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier and inflation accelerated to 5.4 percent, the most since July 2008, the statistics bureau said April 15.

“Beijing did not take long to respond to the strong inflation number on Friday. Governor Zhou (Xiaochuan) also struck a hawkish tone in comments made over the weekend, so this move comes as no surprise.

‘‘We revised up our forecast for policy rates in response to the inflation data, and now expect another increase in the benchmark lending rate this quarter, in addition to the one we were already forecasting for later in the year. Today’s move suggest that another increase in interest rates is on the way soon.’’

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