China's foreign exchange authority has granted overseas investment quotas totaling US$10.3 billion to eight qualified domestic institutional investors (QDII) since the scheme was implemented in July.
A statement from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said the China CITIC Bank had been approved to buy foreign exchange worth US$500 million on behalf of its clients for overseas investment, bringing the QDII quota above that of QFIIs (qualified foreign institutional investors) and surpassing US$10 billion.
The QDII scheme allows mainland institutions and residents to entrust mainland commercial banks to invest a certain amount of money in financial products overseas, and allows insurance institutions to invest some of their assets in overseas fixed-income products and monetary market products.
The government launched the QFII pilot program in 2003, allowing foreign institutional investors such as UBS, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup Global Markets Limited to engage in the securities business on the Chinese mainland.
So far, 48 foreign institutions have QFII status, and the combined investment quota totals US$7.845 billion, more than three quarters of the 10-billion-dollar quota the government promised to give to overseas institutional investors.
Although the country started QDII scheme in 2006, much later than the QFII, the government gave investment quotas to QDIIs at a much faster rate.
In July, the SAFE for the first time granted overseas investment quotas totaling US$4.8 billion to three QDIIs.
In just two months, a total of eight Chinese and overseas-funded commercial banks, including the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the China Construction Bank, the Bank of Communications, the China Merchants Bank, the China CITIC Bank, the Citibank and the Bank of East Asia, have received 10.3 billion dollars of QDII quotas.
After receiving the quota, the banks can raise Renminbi funds from domestic individuals and institutions and convert them into foreign currency for overseas investment.
Another three overseas-funded banks, including the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp., the Hang Seng Bank and the Standard Chartered Bank, have also received QDII licenses and are still awaiting quotas.
These banks have a great demand for such quotas, showing the QDII service had a broad prospective market, the SAFE said.
Due to expectations of further Renminbi appreciation, huge amounts of foreign exchange have flowed into China in recent years, pressuring Renminbi upwards.
The QDII policy will help domestic funds to move out and alleviate the pressure, according to the SAFE.
(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2006)