China considering launching QDII2 trial in Shanghai Free Trade zone

Containers seen at a port of Shanghai Free Trade Zone, in this Feb 11, 2014, file photo.
Containers seen at a port of Shanghai Free Trade Zone, in this Feb 11, 2014, file photo.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China is considering launching its long-planned qualified domestic individual investor programme (QDII2) in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, according to a statement posted on Wednesday evening (Oct 21) on the website of the State Council, China's cabinet.

The Council statement did not elaborate on potential timing for the programme's launch.

Currently individual Chinese investors are allowed to purchase a maximum of US$50,000 worth of foreign currency a year, but regulators have been considering an expanded programme for selected domestic investors for some time.

There had been a possibility that the programme could have been launched in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone in the first half of this year, according to sources close to the central bank.

But equity and currency market volatility this summer caused some analysts to speculate that further capital account reforms could be delayed until markets stabilized. In August, China shocked world markets by unexpectedly devaluing the yuan by three per cent.

The planned QDII2 programme, first reported to be under consideration by official media earlier in 2015, would be restricted to individuals with at least 1 million yuan (S$219,400) in financial assets, according to the state-owned Securities Times.