Yuan to be a freely traded, convertible currency by 2020

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The yuan will be a convertible and freely traded currency by the end of 2020, according to the head of China's central bank.

Within the same timeframe, more than a third of China's total payments will be settled in yuan, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, was quoted as saying in an article in yesterday's People's Daily outlining the nation's financial reform targets for the next five-year plan period.

"We will drive the yuan to be a convertible and freely usable currency ... and facilitate its use within neighboring countries and emerging markets, before extending to international financial centers and developed countries," he said.

Zhou's comments were made as the yuan is set to be included among the International Monetary Fund's basket of currencies, which is a key step in its move to be accepted as a global reserve currency alongside the US dollar, yen, British pound and euro.

To help achieve its goals, China will drive its Belt and Road initiative, which aims to boost China's trade and investment links with countries across Asia, Europe and Africa, while also relaxing cross-border foreign exchange regulations, Zhou said.

Meanwhile, he stressed the importance of building an effective financial security system, describing it as "essential to national security."

The currency reforms are among 17 major targets set by the central bank.

Others include boosting the role of bonds and equity markets in corporate fundraising, developing a "green" bond market for funding environment-friendly projects, creating data platforms to support Internet financing, and allowing the opening of more private banks.

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