MAS says yuan investments to be part of forex reserves

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building in Singapore.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building in Singapore.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE (REUTERS, AFP) - Singapore's central bank said on Wednesday it will be including its renminbi financial investments as part of its official foreign reserves starting from June.

"This move recognises the steady and calibrated liberalisation of China's financial markets, and the growing acceptance of RMB assets in the global portfolio of institutional investors," the Monetary Authority of Singapore said in a statement.

The MAS said it has been making RMB financial investments through China's qualified foreign institutional investor and interbank bond market schemes since 2012, but added that they were not included in its official foreign reserves as there were previously restrictions on the repatriation of such funds.

It also buys bonds in China's over-the-counter bond trading market, which was opened to foreign central banks in 2010. While the investments were part of MAS' foreign assets, they were excluded when computing the foreign reserves because of restrictions on the repatriation of the funds, the central bank said.

But "over the past year, China has taken significant steps to liberalise access to its foreign exchange and securities markets for foreign institutional investors," it said in a statement. "For example, access to China's interbank bond market was granted to most foreign institutional investors, and investment quotas were eliminated," it added.

"Restrictions on inbound and outbound remittances have been lifted and no prior approval is now required for the repatriation of funds invested in China's interbank bond market."