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Yuan-based settlements for some China trade likely by March: central bank
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15:18, March 06, 2009

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Four commercial banks could begin offering yuan-denominated settlement of some of China's international trade deals as soon as March, the central bank said Friday.

Zhou Xiaochuan, head of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), said that a policy for settlement of Hong Kong-mainland trade denominated in the yuan would be released soon. He made the comment at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, or the parliament.

"It won't be long before the policy can be made public," Zhou said.

PBOC sources said Thursday the names of the four banks, two domestic and two foreign, would be officially disclosed this month. They said two of the banks were based in Shanghai.

Other officials have also mentioned the issue this week.

Donald Tsang, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), said he believed yuan settlements for trade would soon be possible in Hong Kong. Tsang spoke during his visit to Beijing for the legislative session.

And Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday in his government work report that the mainland would expedite trials of yuan-denominatedtrade settlements with Hong Kong and Macao this year.

Zhou Xiaochuan (R), governor of the People's Bank of China, answers a question during a press conference on dealing with the global financial crisis and maintaining steady and relatively rapid economic growth held by the Second Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 6, 2009. Zhang Ping, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, and Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xuren also attended the press conference. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

Zhou said there were no major technical difficulties for yuan-based trade settlements and only some fine-tuning was needed. He pointed out that payment systems for mainland tourists using the yuan had operated since 2003.

The State Council, or Cabinet, said on Dec. 24 that China would allow yuan-based trade settlements among several areas on a trial basis, including trade between the southern Guangdong Province, the Yangtze River Delta region and the Hong Kong and Macao SARs, and between the southwestern Guangxi and Yunnan provinces and Southeast Asian nations.

Such settlement would represent an important step for China's yuan in international trade settlement.

Hong Kong-mainland trade reached 197.25 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 18.7 percent.


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