China central bank cuts interest rates for sixth time since November

A file picture of a pedestrian walks past the People's Bank Of China (PBOC) headquarters at night in the financial district of Beijing, China. China cut the benchmark interest rates and reserve ratio on Friday amid a slowing economy. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
A file picture of a pedestrian walks past the People's Bank Of China (PBOC) headquarters at night in the financial district of Beijing, China. China cut the benchmark interest rates and reserve ratio on Friday amid a slowing economy. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's central bank cut interest rates for the sixth time since November on Friday, and it again lowered the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves in another attempt to jumpstart a slowing economy.

China's monetary policy easing is at its most aggressive since the 2008/09 global financial crisis, underscoring concerns within Beijing about the health of the world's second-largest economy.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) said on its website that it was lowering the one-year benchmark bank lending rate by 25 basis points to 4.35 per cent, effective from Oct. 24.

"The People's Bank has delivered another jolt of stimulus,"analysts at Capital Economics said in a note to clients, but added that they were "still waiting for clear evidence of an economic turnaround".

"We are retaining our forecast that benchmark rates and the reserve requirement ratio will both be cut once more before the end of the year, with a further move in both early in 2016."

Sobering economic data in the third quarter has demonstrated the daunting challenges faced by the country's leaders, not least in attaining the 7 percent growth target set by the government.

Data released on Monday showed China's economy grew 6.9 per cent between July and September from a year earlier, dipping below 7 per cent for the first time since the global financial crisis.

The one-year benchmark deposit rate was lowered by 25 basis points to 1.50 per cent.

The RRR will also be cut by 50 basis points for all banks, taking the ratio to 17.5 per cent for the country's biggest lenders, the PBOC said in a statement.

Buoyed by China's easing, which came late in the evening in Asia, European shares turned higher and the Chinese offshore yuan fell against the U.S. dollar.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 extended gains to trade 2.2 percent higher at 1,493.60, with miners jumping 2.9 percent in the minutes after the move.

China's offshore yuan hit a four-week low of 6.3958 to the dollar after the decision.