China’s Finance Ministry sold only 9.5 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) of the 15 billion yuan the government tried to sell in its Friday bond auction as the yield rose on the central banks’ refusal to pump money into the economy by purchasing bonds, opting for a slowdown in growth to address concerns about mounting debt.
This was the first time in nearly two years that China didn’t sell all of the bonds it floated thanks to a spike in money market rates attributed to the government stopping the regular injections of cash into the economy that it had been doing to help spur growth toward the end of last year, according to the Financial Times.
The tightness has caused the seven-day bond repurchase rate to more than double as of Friday, from 3 percent last month to 6.9 percent. Higher money rates lead to a tightening of interbank lending and less demand for government bonds.
“If liquidity is so tight that it is even difficult for government to raise funds, it’ll be even more difficult for local governments and highly leveraged companies,” Nomura economist Zhang Zhiwei told the Financial Times.
Now all eyes are watching to see when, rather than if, the central bank resumes pushing liquidity into the banking system.
China’s economic growth fell to 7.7 percent in the first quarter from 7.9 percent in the same period last year.