Shanghai aims to be global financial center

Updated: 2012-01-30 17:55


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BEIJING - China plans to make Shanghai, the country's financial hub, a global center for innovation, transaction, pricing and clearing of RMB-denominated financial products by 2015, the country's top economic planner said Monday.

The plan will be part of China's bid to build Shanghai into an international financial center by 2020 amid a shifting global financial landscape, with China's economic weight and its currency taking a more prominent position on the world stage.

The 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015) will be "a period of strategic opportunities" for the construction of the international financial center, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement.

The government aims to increase the total transaction value of all financial markets in Shanghai, barring foreign exchange markets, to around 1 quadrillion yuan ($158.5 trillion) by 2015, the statement said, quoting an unnamed Shanghai government official.

That will be more than double the transaction value of 2010, which stood at 386.2 trillion yuan, up 10 times from 2005, according to the statement.

By 2015, direct financing will account for around 22 percent of the social financing scale in Shanghai, while assets under management will reach 30 trillion yuan, the official said.

The scale of overseas investment in Shanghai's financial markets will be markedly expanded by that time, with major stock indices and commodities futures prices of those markets having a greater global influence, he said.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate and the RMB central parity rate will become major benchmarks for domestic and foreign RMB asset pricing and transactions.

To achieve these goals, the city will speed up infrastructure construction to build a cross-border RMB payment and clearing network geared toward global demand, the official said.

A cross-border RMB investment and financing center will also be established in Shanghai, he said.

As China's two major financial centers, Shanghai and Hong Kong will continue to step up communication and cooperation in areas such as financial markets, institutions, products, businesses and talents, the official noted.

Foreign-funded financial institutions will be encouraged to set up their regional or global headquarters in Shanghai, he said.

There were 1,049 financial institutions in Shanghai as of the end of 2010, 439 more than five years earlier.

The State Council, or China's Cabinet, announced in 2009 that Shanghai would be built into an international financial hub.

Shanghai boasts China's biggest stock exchange, the headquarters of the country's foreign exchange trading system and a major commodities futures exchange.

The government's drive will benefit from the rising status of the Chinese economy and currency in the global financial system and China's deepening economic and financial reforms, the statement quoted an unnamed NDRC official as saying.

In the meantime, it faces challenges from intensified competition among global financial markets and higher demand for financial risk control, the official said.

Although the RMB is not fully convertible under the capital account at this time, China has made gradual moves to promote the currency's internationalization over the past few years.

The country expanded a pilot program to extend cross-border trade settlements in yuan to the whole nation last year. It also supported Hong Kong's establishment of an offshore yuan market.