The Chinese yuan, also known as the renminbi, is already convertible under the current account - the broadest measure of trade in goods and services. However, the capital account, which covers portfolio investment and borrowing, is still closely managed by Beijing because of worries about abrupt capital flows.
Port builder posts 153pc profit jump
China Communications Construction, the country's largest port builder, posted a 153 per cent increase in first-half net profit, fuelled by a surge in port projects in the mainland and overseas.
Chairman Zhou Jichang said demand for transport infrastructure would continue growing in the second half.
Net income increased to 2.74 billion yuan in the first six months from 1.08 billion yuan in the same period last year. Stripping out 636 million yuan in relocation compensation related to Shanghai's World Expo 2010, profit from the core business rose 110 per cent to 2.1 billion yuan.
A subsidiary received about 894 million yuan from the Shanghai government to offset the cost of relocating a plant because of the World Expo. Part of the compensation has been spent. The remaining balance of 636 million yuan was recorded as income on the completion of first phase of the relocation.
Earnings per share increased 90 per cent to 19 fen. No dividends were recommended.
Sales increased 24.3 per cent to 58.67 billion yuan. Infrastructure construction - including ports, roads, bridges and railways - accounted for 40 billion yuan in sales, up 36 per cent.
The company signed new contracts worth 71 billion yuan in the period, accumulating an order backlog of 126.5 billion yuan.
The port machinery division, which makes the largest container cranes in the world, contributed 10.2 billion yuan in sales, up 13 per cent. The value of new contacts signed in the period totalled 16.4 billion yuan - an increase of 32 per cent. The order backlog for port machinery was 33 billion yuan by June.
Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery is a major unit of the port machinery division and is listed on the Shanghai exchange.
It produced 116 quayside container cranes and 197 yard container cranes during the period. The majority of its cranes were bound for overseas, shipped to 100 ports in 58 countries and regions.
Zhenhua is diversifying its product range into offshore heavy machinery equipment, which is required for the exploration of oil and gas fields, making large steel structures and as port machinery components.
Shares of China Communications Construction fell 1.89 per cent yesterday to close at HK$17.66. The stock has gained 109 per cent this year.
China Communications Construction said first-half net profit rose to, in yuan 2.74b