Currency policy a big step: Ma

Updated: 2012-04-20 11:23

By Tan Yingzi in Washington (China Daily)

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Currency policy a big step: Ma

Ma Weihua, president of China Merchants Bank, talks with former US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky at a forum in Washington. [Cai Chunying / China Daily]

The latest moves by China toward opening its capital account and facilitating the internationalization of the yuan will contribute significantly to the global economic rebalancing, a leading Chinese banker said on Thursday.

Ma Weihua, president of China Merchants Bank, discussed with former US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky China's economic development and financial reforms at a forum in Washington.

"It is a gesture of the Chinese government to promote financial reform," Ma told the audience. "It also shows that China is not only encouraging overseas investment but also welcoming inbound investment."

Relaxed capital flows will allow China to allocate its resources on a broader scale and adjust its industrial structure, he said.

"With China importing more and spending more, the world economy will regain its balance," Ma said.

Last week, the central bank doubled the yuan's daily trading band, the first expansion since 2007, to 1 percent against the dollar from a previous daily midpoint rate of 0.5 percent. Later, China's securities regulator said it would raise the amount foreigners can invest in the country's stock and bond markets. The agency expanded its Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors pilot program by increasing the investment quota by 50 billion yuan ($7.94 billion) from the previous 20 billion yuan.

Ma spoke at the fourth annual Bertelsmann Foundation-Financial Times forum on jobs and growth one day before the start of spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the US capital. China Daily was a media sponsor of the event.

The forum focused on labor-market reform and innovation, global financial governance and a new Bertelsmann Foundation report on establishing an international, nonprofit credit rating agency.

More than 200 policymakers, bankers, analysts and journalists from the US, Canada and several European countries were in attendance, along with peers from emerging-market nations such as China and Brazil. Featured speakers included Gene Sperling, director of President Barack Obama's National Economic Council; Jorg Asmussen, a European Central Bank executive board member; Thomas Donohue, US Chamber of Commerce president and CEO; Jim Flaherty, Canadian finance minister; Hilda Solis, US labor secretary; and Ursula von der Leyen, German labor and social affairs minister.

China Merchants Bank, founded in 1987 in Shenzhen, was at the forefront of China's efforts to reform and open up its economy. It is the country's first joint-stock commercial bank. On the strength of its innovative financial services and Ma's leadership, China Merchants Bank has become one of the most profitable Chinese banks.