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PBOC faces balancing act with rate, inflation

China Daily

For the time being, the PBOC remains on high alert against inflation, as it states in its first quarterly report that it cannot afford to be "blindly optimistic" about the price situation in the next phase. It must fend off the inflationary risks proactively, and stabilize the market's inflationary expectation "in a forward-looking way."

China's consumer price index rebounded to 2.4 percent year-on-year in April from 2.1 percent in March, stronger than expected.

"We expect it to rise further in the coming several months," said Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc, adding that he expects the authorities to continue to tighten monetary policy in the second quarter, and a slowdown in credit growth as a result.

He added as inflation is edging close to the one-year benchmark deposit rate of 3 percent, it reduces the possibility of an interest rate cut. "A rate cut would also contribute to more speculative pressure in the property market."

The impact of major economies' quantitative easing on China would be less than some people fear, and the nation should continue to deepen its ongoing reforms, especially currency reform, to better cope with the overall global uncertainties, said Fred Hu, chairman of Primavera Capital Group and a former economist at the International Monetary Fund.

By improving the yuan's convertibility for the capital account and increasing the flexibility of its exchange rate, China will free itself from the necessity of injecting money into the market passively whenever the yuan exchange rates rises, he said.

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