China to make Shanghai global yuan hub by 2015

Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:15am EST
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By Kazunori Takada and Samuel Shen

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China intends to establish Shanghai as the global centre for yuan trading, clearing and pricing over the next three years as part of broader plans to make the commercial hub an international financial centre by 2020.

The plan for Shanghai's financial innovations through 2015, published jointly by the country's economic planning agency and the Shanghai government on Monday, set goals on a wide range of areas aimed at further developing Shanghai, though some analysts said many of them appeared ambitious.

"This anticipated pace of development looks a bit quick to me," said Frances Cheung, a strategist at Credit Agricole in Hong Kong.

China wants to transform Shanghai into an international financial centre on par with the likes of New York and London by 2020. That goal was set in 2009 by the State Council and analysts have taken it as a broad deadline for liberalizing the currency.

The state economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, outlined a series of goals under the 2015 yuan plan.

These included making the daily yuan mid-point published by the central bank in the onshore yuan market serve as the benchmark for both domestic and foreign yuan trading markets.

Currency traders interpreted the statement partly as a message from Beijing that the yuan's movements, which have increasingly been influenced by the offshore market over the past few months, should be decided by the government.

"There have been recent developments that have put Hong Kong's offshore market in the spotlight from time to time, such as its pricing of the yuan quite differently from the onshore market," said a trader at a European bank in Shanghai.   Continued...