The central government has ruled out increasing the flexibility of its rigid exchange-rate regime by widening the renminbi's trading band in the immediate future, the country's top foreign exchange official said. Guo Shuqing, director-general of the State Administration of Foreign Control, also dashed immediate hopes of moving to a managed float against a basket of currencies. Such a plan was first proposed by the former governor of the People's Bank of China, Dai Xianglong. Mr Guo said China would not bow to international pressure to change its exchange-rate policy, amid renewed calls by Japan and the US for the yuan to appreciate. His comments came after a CPPCC panel discussion. Asked if China would respond to rising pressure to allow a small appreciation of the yuan by widening the narrow trading band this year, Mr Guo said: 'External pressure is not a major factor that we consider.' He said current conditions were not suitable for a widening of the trading band. 'We don't have a plan at the moment, but in the future we may need to do that. It all depends on international balances, trade and investment flows, the macro-economic environment and the money market and interest rate situation,' Mr Guo said. His comments might have disappointed economists who predicted China would widen the yuan's trading band this year. Goldman Sachs had forecast a moderate widening of about 1 per cent, 2003, while Salomon Smith Barney also said the band might be widened this year. Beijing put the yuan on a managed float in 1994. However, the currency remains virtually pegged to the US dollar, trading within 8.276-8.28 yuan to one US dollar. At present, the yuan is only allowed to move within a tight trading band of no more than 0.2 per cent against the dollar. Widening the trading band is a moderate option for the central government to allow some flexibility of the yuan's exchange rate regime to cope with growing trade volumes and commitments since entry to the World Trade Organisation. Officials are believed to be unwilling to carry out drastic measures to reform China's exchange-rate system. Mr Guo said Beijing also had no concrete proposals to move to a managed float against a basket of currencies. He also acknowledged for the first time in public that his administration had detected so-called hot money - speculative capital - flowing out from China. 'There is some, but not much,' said Mr Guo.