China's central bank on Sunday cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, the second industry-wide cut in two months, adding more liquidity to the world's second-biggest economy to help spur bank lending and combat slowing growth. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) lowered the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for all banks by 100 basis points to 18.5 percent, effective from April 20, the central bank said in a statement on its website www.pbc.gov.cn. "Though the growth in the first quarter met the official target of around 7 percent for 2015, the slowdown in several areas, including industrial output and retail sales, has caused concern," said a report published by the official Xinhua news service covering the announcement. The latest cut, the deepest single reduction since the depth of the global crisis in 2008, shows how the central bank is stepping up efforts to ward off a sharp slowdown in the economy.
In January 2014, veteran short-seller Bill Fleckenstein said he was readying a new fund to bet on falling stock prices. Despite lackluster U.S. economic data, a world grappling with slow growth, concern that Greece and Ukraine could default on their debts, the U.S. stock market has been more than resilient. It has been impossible," Seattle-based Fleckenstein told Reuters. "It all comes down to free money and that old saw - 'don't fight the Fed,'" said Jeff Matthews, who runs Ram Partners, a Naples, Florida-based hedge fund.
The threat posed by Greece beyond its borders may have diminished but efforts to agree an economic reform program to free up bailout funds and avert default will capture world attention this week. Euro zone finance ministers meet in the Latvian capital Riga on Friday with both sides saying time is running short to keep Greece afloat. Germany said last week it was unrealistic to expect euro zone countries to be able to pay out a new tranche of aid this month. "No one has a clue how we can reach agreement on an ambitious program," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.