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China central bank denies media reports on interest rate controls

[BEIJING] The central People's Bank of China on Monday denied media reports it had re-imposed controls on bank deposit and lending rates, saying such reports were "irresponsible".

It was not immediately clear where the reports had appeared, but the bank said they referred to the resumption of controls. It quoted the reports as saying the move was a backward step for interest rate reforms.

"The relevant reports distort the facts and mislead public opinion. We express condemnation of these acts which go against the integrity of the news industry and are irresponsible," it said in a brief statement, adding it reserved the right to take legal action.

The central bank said banks in Beijing had conducted negotiations on the pricing of deposits and loans to help maintain market order, rather than resuming controls on interest rates.

China's central bank has removed controls on both lending and deposit rates under its market-based reform push, but banks still refer to the official benchmark rates when they take deposits and make loans.

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