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China regulators probe liquidity stress that sent rates to record 50% - sources

(Reuters) - China's financial regulators are investigating a month-end liquidity crunch that saw short-term money rates surge to as much as 50%, asking some institutions to explain why they borrowed at extremely high rates, three sources said.

The overnight rate for pledged repo - a short-term financing business - hit a record high of 50% on Oct 31, as a month-end scramble for cash and a flood of government bond sales caused stress in money markets.

The China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS), a central bank affiliate that operates China's interbank market, has asked institutions that settled trades on Tuesday at the 50% rate to submit explanations, according two sources with direct knowledge.

"Anyone who borrowed money at very high rates need to explain to regulators the decision-making and bidding process," said another direct source.

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