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.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard answers question from guests at an executive leadership academy in Shanghai yesterday. Photo: AP

Yuan and Australian dollar to start direct trading

Australia & New Zealand Bank and Westpac Banking had been approved by the People's Bank of China as market makers for the direct trading of the currencies, Gillard said in Shanghai yesterday. "This will be a huge advantage for Australia, not only for our big businesses, but also for our small and medium enterprises that want to do business here," she said.