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Financial integration urged
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A senior Shanghai municipal government official has called for a fresh approach to financial services integration in the Yangtze River Delta region.


Ji Wenguan, deputy director of the Shanghai financial services office, said obstacles blocking integration in the region must be removed.


Ji made the remarks at a seminar held in the city this week on the Yangtze River Delta's service industry.


"We must understand that regional financial integration will not lead to an outflow of resources from the less developed cities," Ji said.


"Instead, it would channel fresh capital from the more affluent cities to those in need, helping to ensure more balanced development."


In recent years, one-third of new loans from foreign banks in Shanghai have gone to Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.


Shanghai plans to launch measures to speed up financial integration in the region, Ji said. They include supporting financial institutions to provide inter-city services, bringing together financial infrastructure upgrades in the region, and boosting the training and exchange of professionals.


According to Ji, the groundwork for integration of the region's financial services industry has already been done. The area's outstanding loans and deposits, premiums and listed companies account for a quarter of the country's total, he said.


There were 365 listed companies in Shanghai and Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in July - 25 percent of the nation's total. By the end of June, the region's deposits amounted to 8.52 trillion yuan, accounting for 22 percent of the nation's total, while the volume of outstanding loans was 6.55 trillion yuan, or 24 percent of the total.


Analysts said better integration in the Yangtze River Delta region would help make allocation of financial resources to cities more efficient and strengthen the area's competitive edge in the financial sector.


(China Daily December 21, 2007)


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