China's central bank raised the lending and deposit rates by 0.27 percentage points late on Saturday in a move to control continued rapid economic growth, the Financial Times reported. From Sunday, the benchmark one-year lending rate became 6.39% while the deposit rate was set at 2.79%. It is the third interest rate hike in less than a year and comes after two increases in the reserve ratio requirement for commercial banks since the start of 2007. The central bank said the move was necessary to balance growth, stabilize prices and improve the structure of the economy. In his annual press conference Friday, Premier Wen Jiabao said China's economic development was becoming unsustainable, noting that credit issuance and investment had been excessive. The interest rate hike was widely expected and economists believe more could follow this year.
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