Just hours after we warned that it was time to start worrying about China's debt default avalanche, and shortly after the PBOC lowered its credit quality restrictions for collateral, China offered its Medium-term Lending Facility (MLF) to inject CNY463bn (~$72bn) of liquidity.
As we detailed earlier, the recent blow out in Chinese corporate bond spooked none other than the PBOC, which last last Friday announced that it will accept lower-rated corporate bonds as collateral for a major liquidity management tool in a move that analysts see as designed in part to restore confidence in the country's corporate bond market.
Specifically, the central bank said that it had decided to expand the collateral pool for the medium-term lending facility (MLF) to include corporate bonds rated AA+ or AA by domestic rating agencies. The central bank also added as collateral financial bonds rated AA and above with proceeds to support rural development, small enterprises and green projects, as well as high-quality loans supporting green projects and small enterprises, the PBoC said in a statement posted on its website.
The PBoC said the expansion of collateral would "help alleviate the financing difficulties of small companies and to promote the healthy development of the corporate bond market."
CICC confirmed as much, writing in a note that "the expansion of collateral for MLF, to some extent, is intended to bolster confidence in lower-rated corporate bonds ... and to avoid creating an apparent net financing gap which would impact the real economy."
Translated: the PBOC is providing yet another backdoor bailout to China's latest and greatest distressed sector in hopes of avoiding an avalanche of defaults as credit conditions become increasingly tighter as the PBOC hikes tit for tat with the Fed.
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