FOREIGN EXCHANGE | Staff Reporter, China

Renminbi edges closer to full convertibility

Could attain this aim by 2020.

Fang Xing Hai, director of the Office of Financial Services of the Shanghai city government, said China intends to speed up the process.

“My own assessment is that we are actually slightly behind market demand. Obviously convertibility cannot be done overnight,” he said.

He noted that it takes a period of time to achieve convertibility but the time has come to speed up that process.

“In our system, without this goal of making the currency convertible, I can almost certainly say that interest rate liberalization and exchange rate liberalization will never be fully achieved.”

Fang said there is a renewed sense of urgency for the renminbi to become fully convertible since more Chinese firms are investing overseas and the lengthy approval process to move capital aboard currently could derail deals.

Some analysts, however, said there are concerns that by opening up its capital account too quickly, China could expose itself to large capital inflows and outflows that could destabilize or distort the market.

Nearly 14% of China's trade is settled in renminbi compared to only 3% in 2010. 

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