Chinese monetary authorities will support Shanghai to take a lead in the free use of renminbi and explore free capital inflow and outflow and free currency exchange in Shanghai's Lingang Special Area, a central bank official said on Tuesday.
China will continue to support building Shanghai into an international financial center, with a focus on further improving the financial market, product, institutional and financial infrastructure systems to boost the allocation of global financial resources, said Wang Xin, director of research at the People's Bank of China.
Wang said at a news conference in Beijing that the central bank will make a big push to build Shanghai into a key hub connecting the domestic and international markets, including supporting early and pilot implementation of Shanghai's free use of renminbi and further facilitating the inflow and outflow of companies' trade and investment in accordance with the principles of anti-money laundering, anti-terrorist financing and anti-tax avoidance.
Wang's remarks came after China released a guideline last week to develop the Pudong New Area into a pioneer of socialist modernization.
Pudong New Area, which is Shanghai's reform and opening-up showpiece, is set to pioneer China's higher level of reform and opening-up and serve as a strategic link between the domestic and international markets, according to the document released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China's Cabinet.
Under the guideline, Pudong will further expand financial opening-up, promote the cross-border, two-way flow of renminbi, build an offshore financial system that matches Shanghai's position as a world financial center, and support Pudong in developing offshore renminbi transactions so long as the risks are controllable.
At the Lujiazui Forum in mid-June in Shanghai, Huo Yingli, Party secretary of the China Foreign Exchange Trade System, said that while the currency is now often used in cross-border transactions, most of the transactions have been done in the financial market, with only 15 percent serving the real economy. In addition, the currency is most frequently used in China-related economic activities.
These scenarios are still far from the accepted description of free usage of renminbi. But Shanghai, which is the country's financial center, can help to attain that goal, she said.
According to the guideline, an international financial asset trading platform should be set up in Pudong. Meanwhile, an infrastructure connection mechanism in Shanghai's bond market should be built at a faster pace, which will be conducive to the overall opening-up of China's bond market.
Such measures are of great importance to Shanghai, which aspires to become a yuan-denominated asset allocation center, said Li Feng, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance.
Although China is the world's second-largest bond market, overseas investors account for only 3 percent of bond investment in Shanghai, said Li.
"By elevating the international influence of various prices determined in Shanghai, yuan-denominated assets will be more widely accepted and influential worldwide. By making more renminbi assets available offshore, individual investors and institutions will be more willing to hold yuan-denominated assets, which in turn will advance the internationalization of the renminbi," he added.
Yang Fan, chief strategist of CITIC Securities, said the Lingang Special Area, which was included in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in August 2019, will focus on cross-border capital management in accordance with the central government's guideline. More efforts will be made to develop offshore renminbi trading in Lingang, helping Shanghai establish an offshore financial system that will be in line with the city's role as a world financial center, said Yang.