A senior official of China's largest foreign-exchange bank has called for full yuan convertibility as soon as possible. The mainland's improved external position encouraged convertibility, said Bank of China executive vice-president He Guangbei. 'China's foreign exchange reserves stand at over US$200 billion . . . so conditions for conversion are much better now than they were even three years ago,' Mr He said. The call goes beyond the policy of Beijing, which is to push forward with full convertibility much more slowly. Speaking at a Hong Kong Foreign Exchange and Money Market Practices Committee forum in Hong Kong, Mr He said full convertibility would happen sooner or later. He said he hoped that 'it should happen sooner than later'. The comments came the same day a vice-governor of the People's Bank of China, Guo Shuqing, was quoted by the Chinese Securities newspaper as saying the yuan would remain stable after WTO entry. China's financial markets are set to become gradually more international following admission to the trade body. Mr He said WTO entry would see keen competition between domestic and foreign banks but he also expected more co-operation between mainland and international banks. To enhance the capacity of mainland banks, Mr He said the big four - Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Agricultural Bank - should be granted access to local and international stock markets. Mr He said Bank of China intended to seek a stock market listing but no timetable had been set because of the gloomy economic situation. The stock market would not perform well in the slowing economy, and therefore any initial public offering would not see a good result, he said. Mr He said there were areas where China's debt and securities markets could be improved, such as an increase in size and diversification of participants and trading instruments.