More bond-market access for foreign firms
PBC announcement highlights recent opening-up steps by Beijing
Published: Oct 16, 2019 08:36 PM

File photo: IC

China's central bank on Wednesday unveiled new rules to facilitate foreign investment in the interbank bond market, the latest in a flurry of efforts to reduce barriers to entry in the nation's financial markets. 

Currently, overseas institutional investors are allowed access to the interbank market via multiple conduits such as the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) and Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) programs. 

In a move toward a higher level of opening up, bonds held by the same investor via QFII, RQFII and other access can be transferred in methods that don't involve the interbank bond market. Also, overseas investors are required to register with the regulatory authorities just one time for access to the nation's bond market through different conduits, the People's Bank of China (PBC), the country's central bank, said in a posting on its website. 

Li Huiyong, an executive with Shanghai-based Hwabao WP Fund Management Co, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the technical improvement will allow investors to achieve greater efficiency and better returns in their investments in the Chinese bond market.

"This will further increase the attractiveness of the Chinese bond market to foreign investors," Li said. 

Billing the announcement as a further step in allowing overseas institutional investors easier market access and pushing for a globalized yuan, the PBC vowed in the posting to consider taking further measures to achieve higher-level financial opening.

As part of the deregulation drive, China announced in September plans to scrap QFII and RQFII caps on foreign investment. 

Over the past few days, China's opening-up push has been in fast-forward mode. 

The country's securities regulator on Friday setting specific dates to scrap foreign ownership controls in futures, fund management and securities firms. 

The banking and insurance regulator announced on Tuesday it would open the market wider to foreign insurers and banks.

Xu Hongcai, deputy director of the economic policy commission at the China Association of Policy Science in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the loosening of restrictions is conducive to policy implementations as set by the central government.

"China could benefit from attracting more foreign capital to flow into its markets and this will also benefit the balance of foreign exchange reserves and the yuan's liberalization and internationalization," Xu said.

This will further improve foreign capital's share of the Chinese bond market, Xu added.