Beijing steps up push to boost yuan's status

Trade and foreign investment figures ordered to be published in mainland and US currencies

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 1:24am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 11:17am

The Communist Party has ordered ministries to present trade and foreign investment data in yuan as well as US dollars in a bid to boost the mainland currency's status, two sources said.

The order, issued by the party's highest-level body for financial and economic policy, applied to all the trade and investment data starting from last month, the sources said. They asked not to be identified because the directive has not been made public.

The order says the policy change is meant to promote the yuan's globalisation, the sources said.

Beijing has waged a campaign to boost the influence of the yuan, allowing companies to issue yuan-denominated bonds in Hong Kong, and signing currency swaps with central banks from the European Union to Singapore.

The planning agency that made the change was the Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, the sources said.

It would primarily affect the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs.

Telephone calls to the media offices of the ministry and the customs administration rang unanswered yesterday.

Because trade data had been expressed in dollars, changes in the yuan's exchange rate could lead people to misinterpret economic activity, Xinhua reported this month, citing customs administration spokesman Zheng Yuesheng.

Zheng said the administration would publish all trade figures in yuan from this year, according to a statement posted on its website.

This month, the administration highlighted the yuan value of trade data by putting those figures in the first sentence of the statement on exports and imports.

The yuan has risen more than 10 per cent against the dollar since June 2010. But those gains have been pared, with the yuan falling for a fifth day yesterday, extending the biggest weekly drop in more than two years, after the one-month implied volatility for the offshore yuan jumped to the highest level since December 2012 on Friday.