(Bloomberg) -- Chinese banks left their benchmark lending rates unchanged following the central bank’s decision last week to hold a key rate on loans it offers to lenders.

The one-year loan prime rate was held at 3.45% on Monday as expected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The five-year rate, a reference for mortgages, was kept at 3.95%, according to the People’s Bank of China, in line with forecasts.

China’s economic recovery has been driven by strength in the industrial sector, but domestic demand has remained stubbornly weak as the property downturn persists. Credit posted a shock shrinkage in April for the first time ever in an alarming sign of battered corporate and household sentiment.

The People’s Bank of China last week rolled over the maturing medium-term lending facility, its one-year policy loan, but refrained from trimming the rate, signaling an intention to aid a nascent economic recovery without adding pressure on the yuan.

Some economists expect the PBOC to cut rates or inject more cash into the financial system by reducing the amount of reserves banks must keep in the coming months. That would help banks buy up new government bonds, as Beijing increases fiscal support for the economy. 

China on Friday started selling the first batch of what will be 1 trillion yuan ($139 billion) special sovereign bonds, in a move to keep up infrastructure investment. Provincial governments are also accelerating the issuance of local notes.

Policymakers have unveiled more measures recently to stimulate domestic demand in a bid to address the imbalances in the economy, with aid for the property sector to reduce inventory a latest focus.

The authorities announced Friday they will establish a nationwide program to unleash 300 billion yuan in cheap funding to help state-owned companies buy unsold homes. In addition, they removed the floor on mortgage rates and lowered the minimum down payment for homebuyers.

--With assistance from Yujing Liu.

(Updates with more context after fourth paragraph)

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