BEIJING — China continued financial reform in 2014, with smooth progress in opening markets and cutting costs, a central bank senior official said on Nov 27.
Hu Xiaolian, vice-governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said that liberalization of interest rates on Nov 21 was a big step forward. It not only gives a bigger role to the market in interest rate formation, but also a step toward full liberalization of deposit rates.
In March, the PBOC announced widening of the daily yuan trading band from 1 percent to 2 percent and has reduced intervention in the foreign exchange market.
Direct financing now needs less administrative approval. Corporate net fundraising stood at 2.1 trillion yuan ($342 billion) by the end of October, up 31 percent year on year, Hu said.
“The launch of pilot Shanghai-HK stock connect program on Nov 17 has accelerated the opening of China’s capital market,” she said. Investors are allowed to trade eligible shares listed on either market through local securities firms or brokers.
The project allows a maximum cross-border investment of 550 billion yuan ($90 billion) and a daily two-way quota of 23.5 billion yuan. Previously, foreign investment in the mainland equity market was only allowed under a series of complicated projects.
Giving overseas investors easier access to Shanghai-listed shares is not only about the capital market, but a substantial move for internationalization of the yuan, Hu said.
The January-October period this year saw the agreement on RMB clearing with Britain, Germany, France, Republic of Korea, Canada, Australia, Luxembourg and Qatar, and cross-border RMB settlement totaled 8 trillion yuan by the end of October 2014, Hu said.
“The central government has tried to cut financing cost and help small and micro enterprises to withstand the pressure of the economic downturn,” Hu added.