BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s central bank on Wednesday said it injected a total of 290.57 billion yuan ($44.1 billion) through short- and medium-term liquidity facilities in May to help support credit growth and the slowing economy.

That amount of liquidity injections was down from 715.76 billion yuan in April.

The People’s Bank of China extended 290 billion yuan to financial institutions in May via its medium-term lending facility (MLF), it said in a statement on its website.

A Chinese national flag flutters outside the headquarters of the People’s Bank of China, the Chinese central bank, in Beijing, April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

The central bank also injected 570 million yuan via its standing lending facility (SLF) in May.

Outstanding MLF was 1.638 trillion yuan at the end of May, the bank said, compared with 1.495 trillion yuan at the end of April.

Outstanding SLF stood at 400 million yuan at the end of May, compared with 410 million yuan at the end April.

That implied a net liquidity injection of 142.2 billion yuan via MLF in May and a net drain of 10 million yuan via SLF.

Interest rates on 3-month and 6-month MLF were kept unchanged, at 2.75 percent and 2.85 percent, respectively, the central bank said. The rate for overnight SLF was 2.75 percent.

The central bank has been relying more on such operations to provide cash and help develop market-based interest rates, reducing the need to cut bank reserve requirement ratios.

Separately, the central bank extended 108.8 billion yuan worth of pledged supplementary loans, or PSL, to lenders in May.

Outstanding PSL was around 1.5 trilion yuan the end of May, compared with about 1.391 trillion yuan at the end of April, the central bank said.

The PSL programme, initiated in 2014, is designed to help the central bank better target medium-term lending rates while boosting liquidity to specific sectors by offering low cost loans to selected banks.

($1 = 6.5912 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by China Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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