China Money Rate Jumps to Three-Week High on Cash Demand Outlook

China’s money-market rate jumped to the highest level in three weeks after the central bank auctioned treasury deposits at higher yields, reflecting banks’ expectations that cash demand will rise as the quarter-end nears.

The overnight repurchase rate rose for a second day after the People’s Bank of China offered 40 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) of three-month treasury deposits to commercial banks on behalf of the finance ministry at a yield of 3.7 percent, compared with 3.52 percent at the last sale in August. That was the highest rate since September 2011 in similar-maturity auctions.

“The higher yield shows commercial banks are preparing for a cash crunch around the end of this quarter,” said Wang Huane, a senior bond trader at Qilu Bank Co. in Jinan, capital of the eastern Shandong province. “The central bank is trying to prevent a cash shortage by using reverse-repurchase agreements, but they are limited in solving the problem.”

The one-day repo, which measures interbank funding availability, gained 20 basis points to 2.93 percent as of 4:30 p.m. in Shanghai, according to a weighted average rate compiled by the National Interbank Funding Center. It touched 3 percent earlier today, the highest since Aug. 23.

The PBOC conducted 20 billion yuan of seven-day reverse-repo operations today and 55 billion yuan of 28-day reverse repos, according to a statement. Yields were unchanged from previous auctions at 3.35 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.

The one-year swap contract, the fixed cost needed to receive the floating seven-day repurchase rate, declined nine basis points to 3.18 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield on the 3.39 percent government bonds due August 2022 dropped eight basis points, or 0.08 percentage point, to 3.50 percent, according to the Interbank Funding Center.

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