Restrictions on individuals investing overseas may be relaxed

Updated: 2007-03-12 11:34

China is mulling over whether to allow individuals to make direct investments in overseas assets, the foreign exchange regulator disclosed last Thursday.

"More channels will be open to individuals to make overseas investment as the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) raised the annual quota for individuals buying foreign currency from US$20,000 to US$50,000 last year," said Hu Xiaolian, director of SAFE.

The administration will soon increase the total investment quota for qualified foreign institutional investors (QFII) as the current investment sum is only US$50 million short of the US$10 billion-limit, she said.

She gave no indication of the new quota figure, only saying that it should be in line with a balanced international payment.

Currently, Chinese individuals can only buy investment products provided by banks and fund management companies if they want to invest abroad under a qualified domestic institutional investor (QDII) scheme.

Hu said the product scope would be broadened this year to meet customer demand.

She also disclosed that the authority was researching the arbitrage system between the A-share and H-share markets, but a timetable had yet to be set due to its complexity.

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