China raised interest rates for the second time since mid-October to counter the fastest inflation in more than two years and more moves may follow.
The benchmark one-year lending rate will rise by 25 basis points to 5.81 percent and the one-year deposit rate will climb by the same amount to 2.75 percent, effective today, the PeopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Bank of China said in a one-sentence statement on its website late yesterday.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News earlier this month forecast one percentage point of increases by the end of 2011.PremierWen Jiabao is seeking to slow gains in property values and consumer prices that are making it harder for families to buy homes and pay for food. Bank lending and a wider-than- forecast November trade surplus have pumped more cash into an economy already awash with money.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This demonstrates how determined the government is to control inflation,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Wang Qing, a Hong Kong-based economist with Morgan Stanley. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Interest rates on medium and long-term loans are adjusted by banks at the beginning of every year so by raising rates now, this will have a much greater tightening effect than it would have in January.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wang said he expects three more interest-rate adjustments of 25 basis points each in the first half of next year. Ken Peng, an economist at Citigroup Inc. in Hong Kong said yesterday he forecasts increases totaling 100 basis points next year.
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