China vows to liberalise interest rates, push yuan reforms

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China will continue to liberalise interest rates, make the yuan currency more responsive to market forces and more convertible this year, the government said on Friday.

China will draft plans on a deposit insurance system and quicken the development of private financial institutions, according to guidelines on reforms for 2013 drafted by the National and Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

"We will steadily push forward market-oriented reforms of interest rates and gradually widened the floating range for both deposit and lending rates," said the guidelines, which were published on the central government website:

The guidelines have been approved by the cabinet.

China will steadily push forward the process of making the yuan convertible on the capital account, it said without giving a timetable.

China has been giving more leeway for commercial banks to set interest rates and make the yuan more flexible, in a broader push for reforms to strengthen its economy. The world's second-largest economy also has ambitions for its currency to play a bigger role in international trade.

Banks can set deposit rates as high as 110 perccent of the benchmark rate and charge rates on loans for as little as 70 percent of official policy rates.

The yuan is currently allowed to rise or fall by 1 percent in either direction from an official midpoint rate set by the central bank, which last widened the trading band in April 2012.

The government also pledged to work on plans to allow qualified Chinese individuals to invest overseas and allow qualified oversees institutions to issue yuan-denominated bonds.

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