The People’s Bank of China plans to change the rules that regulate the timing and amount of money foreign investors can bring in and out of the country in a signal of its commitment to further open financial markets, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter, reported Bloomberg.
The rule changes would apply to funds under the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor program, which determines how much money can be brought into China to invest in domestic stocks and bonds, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans have yet to be announced.
Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor program allows institutions to raise yuan overseas for investment in China. The new rules would relax the lock-up periods for QFII funds and make withdrawals from China easier, giving institutions more latitude over when they can bring money into the country, they said.
Such changes would suggest that turmoil in China’s stock market and the yuan’s exchange rate haven’t derailed plans by the People’s Bank of China to further open the nation’s capital account to foreign investors, even as the authorities tightened restrictions for the local residents to move money abroad. With economic growth slowing and the currency experiencing depreciation, more than $1 trillion was taken out of China last year.
Shortening the lockup period won’t “really affect the capital outflows — if money wants to leave, it will leave regardless,” Alex Wolf, an economist for emerging markets at Standard Life Investments in Edinburgh told Bloomberg. “But a little incremental change like this does present a good signal that in the face of pressure, they can still proceed with reforms.”
The people who spoke about the plans to loosen controls on QFII funds described them as part of efforts to further open China’s capital markets.