China's central bank announced on Thursday the relaxation of controls on foreign exchange accounts, simplifying approval procedures for foreign exchange payments in the service trade, and procedures for individuals to buy foreign currencies.
According to a document made public on Thursday by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), the three policy readjustments will be effective as of May 1.
They include the readjustments on foreign exchange accounts, simplifying approval procedures for foreign exchange payments in the service trade, and procedures for individuals to buy foreign currencies.
Under the aforementioned readjustments, it will be easier for corporations and individuals to open foreign exchange accounts.
The ceiling of foreign exchange retained by enterprises in a Current Account will be raised based on their foreign exchange income and expenditure.
The administration said every domestic resident can buy up to US$20,000 worth of foreign exchange from State-owned banks each year. Applications for additional amounts can be made to the banks and must be accompanied by the relevant certificates that prove their need for more foreign currency.
The bank said it will also allow qualified banks to pool capital in renminbi, the Chinese currency, from domestic institutions and individuals for overseas investment in products with fixed returns under an unspecified quota system.
It will allow fund management firms and other securities institutions to invest in a combination of stocks and other overseas securities using foreign currencies gathered from domestic institutions and private sources.
The bank said it would allow qualified insurance institutions to buy foreign currencies for investment in overseas products with fixed returns and money market instruments.
The amount of foreign currency purchased would be a "certain portion" of the total assets of the insurance institution.
The bank said other new policies would be implemented in cooperation with other departments, while closely monitoring international payments, and readjusting policies when necessary to prevent risks and safeguard the country's economic and financial security.
The central bank said the new policies are designed to improve the country's management of foreign exchange, boost trade facilitation and further cultivate the forex market, and promote a more even balance of international payments.
(Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2006)