Business / Opinion

Financial market reform on track

By Alan Cloete (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-13 13:47

Deutsche Bank, which opened its seventh office in China - a sub-branch in the Pilot Free Trade Zone in Shanghai - on May 8, has a positive outlook on China's economic growth and the government's commitment to market liberalization. In fact, at 7.8 percent, our (Deutsche Bank's) economic outlook for China's GDP growth for 2014 is at the higher end of the consensus.

We also believe that reforms in the financial market, in which the bank plays a large role, are likely to occur more quickly than the broader market expects. This will have profound implications for China's financial system and its participation in the global economy.

Financial market reform on track
Financial market reform on track
The Chinese government's recent financial market reforms should be applauded. They include accelerating the opening up of the capital account and domestic financial markets through initiatives such as the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors and the recent joint in-principle approval by the China Securities Regulatory Commission and Securities and Futures Commission of the pilot Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program, which is aimed at establishing mutual stock market access between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong.

Also, the renminbi-US dollar spot intra-day trading band has been widened from +/-1 percent to +/-2 percent, which indicates the government is committed to increasing the renminbi exchange rate flexibility and liberalizing its currency's exchange rate regulation.

The approval of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program demonstrates China is committed to accelerating the pace of capital account liberalization. This program is another policy milestone in the move to internationalize the renminbi, because it offers additional investment channel in the offshore renminbi circulation mechanism. It will also boost the demand for renminbi-denominated assets and promote the use of the Chinese currency for investment settlement purposes.

There is already a consensus in China on the direction of renminbi internationalization. But issues such as macroeconomic risks arising from the process and whether and how policies should promote the internationalization of the renminbi, and what pace the process should adopt remain subjects of debate. Our view is that there are three main areas of development that need to be addressed to enable the renminbi internationalization process to proceed smoothly.

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