China's central bank governor Zhou today repeated earlier comments that authorities would push for yuan convertibility: China says no timetable for yuan band widening
BEIJING, Sept 21 (Reuters) - China has no timetable for widening the yuan's daily trading band but will continue to take steps to gradually make its currency fully convertible, central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan said on Thursday.
A recent acceleration in the yuan's strengthening has stoked speculation that Beijing could let it trade in a wider range -- it is currently allowed to rise or fall by 0.3 percent each day against the dollar and by 3 percent against other major currencies.
Asked by reporters on the sidelines of a financial forum whether China had a timetable for widening the band, Zhou said: "There is no need (for that)."
Pressed on details of a potential band widening, Zhou replied: "It depends on whether the band is enough for the market." Zhou made similar comments last weekend at a meeting of Group of Seven nations in Singapore.
The yuan hit 7.9230 against the dollar on Thursday, its highest level since Beijing revalued it by 2.1 percent and untethered it from a peg to the dollar last July. It has now strengthened a further 2.36 percent since then. But in daily trade, it has normally risen or fallen by only a fraction of what the band would allow.
Zhou also said China would gradually push to allow the yuan to be freely convertible and step up efforts to improve the openness of its financial sector. While the yuan is convertible on the current account, which covers trade, China still restricts most capital account deals and analysts say full convertibility could be years away.
"We will continue to redouble our efforts to develop our financial markets, to widen the openness of our markets gradually and in an orderly way, and to steadily push for free convertibility of the renminbi," he said, referring to the alternate name of the currency.