Politics

China Slashes Benchmark Rates To Help Save Sliding Economy

By | May 11, 2015 06:56 AM EDT
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United States Treasury Department has put China on Watch List

Along with China, Germany, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan were also included on the US' watchlist.(Photo : Reuters)

The People's Bank of China on May 10 slashed the country's benchmark deposit and loan interest rates by 25 basis points, a move expected to help improve the country's slowing economy, state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported the same day. 

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The new one-year deposit rate is 2.25 percent and the one-year lending rate is 5.1 percent, effective May 11. 

The cut is the third since November 2014 amid the growing concerns over the country's economy. Xinhua reported that the slashed rates will help support the government's projects designed to lower funding costs and allow for "a modest monetary environment" amid China's economic restructuring. 

The New York Times reported May 10 that the bank's decision came a few days after the government released "weaker-than-expected trade figures" such as Chinese exporting activity in April falling 6.4 percent year over year. Imports, on the other hand, fell 16.2 percent in the same comparable period, attributable to low commodity prices and a weak demand  within the country's economy.  

China's real estate market has also been identified as a major factor in the country's sliding economy. Fitch Ratings on May 7 identified Chinese banks' exposure to the property sector as its "biggest weakness," citing banks' dependence on collateral and cross-sector connections.   

In an earlier report, the Times said that China's economy only grew 7.4 percent year over year for the first quarter of 2015, one of the lowest growth rate in 10 years. A National Bureau of Statistics spokesman, Sheng Laiyun, said China's economy is "still growing at a medium to high speed" despite the recorded economic slowdown. 

Looking ahead, the Asian country is expecting a 7 percent increase in its economy, a number that policy makers are now wary is unachievable due to current market conditions. 

In addition, the Times reported that many economists foresee a "gloomy" economy for China "in the coming years."  

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