People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank of China, now owns a tad over 1% stake in Indian mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC).

PBOC, according to the exchange data, has raised its stake from 0.8% to 1.01%, comprising nearly 17.49 million shares of HDFC.

The share purchase, which has taken place in the first quarter of this year, is said to be worth $389,949.

The disclosure, which is reflected in HDFC’s shareholding pattern in the last quarter, comes after the regulatory threshold of 1% has been hit.

HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh added that “It is common for central banks to buy shares on behalf of the sovereign wealth funds of their respective countries.

“There is nothing unusual or conspiratorial in these holdings; besides they are too small to matter — each about 1% or less.”

Apart from PBOC, Government of Singapore owns a 3.23% stake, and Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, country’s central bank, has picked up a 0.7% stake in HDFC.

Lately, other institutional investors also increased their stakes in HDFC.

Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has raised its stake to 4.67% from 4.21% as of December 2019.​

ICICI Prudential holds a 1.20% stake in the mortgage lender.

HDFC CEO Keki Mistry said that “the PBOC is an existing shareholder and had owned 0.8% in the company earlier.

“The disclosure has been made now since the stake has hit the 1% regulatory threshold.  The 1.01% stake translates into 1.75 crore shares.”

Due to the on-going coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, HDFC share prices have plunged 41% from a 52-week high of INR2,500 to a 52-week low of INR1,473.

In 2014, PBOC picked up stakes in Italian companies during the Eurozone debt crisis in Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain.

It acquired a 2% stake in the country’s insurance giant Generali and automobile company Fiat. PBOC acquired stakes in oil and gas firm Eni and utility major ENEL in Italy.

Moreover, PBOC also acquired a 0.46% stake in Britain’s gas producer BG Group back in 2007.