© Reuters. The headquarters of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, is pictured in Beijing

China cuts benchmark lending rate to prop up virus-hit economy

© Reuters. The headquarters of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, is pictured in Beijing© Reuters. The headquarters of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, is pictured in Beijing

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China cut the benchmark lending rate on Thursday, as widely expected, as the authorities move to lower financing costs for businesses and support an economy hit by a fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic.

The one-year loan prime rate (LPR) was lowered by 10 basis points to 4.05% from 4.15% at the previous monthly fixing.

The five-year LPR was lowered by 5 basis points to 4.75% from 4.80%.

All 51 respondents in a Reuters snap survey had expected a reduction in the LPR, with 38 respondents, or about 75% of participants, tipping a 10 basis points cut to both tenors. [nL4N2AJ22W]

The LPR cut followed a similar move in the central bank’s medium-term lending rate on Monday as policymakers sought to ease the drag to businesses from the coronavirus outbreak.

The LPR is a lending reference rate set monthly by 18 banks. The People’s Bank of China revamped the mechanism to price LPR in August 2019, loosely pegging it to the medium-term lending facility rate.

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