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Budget Speech

Offshore Renminbi Business Centre

74.    Hong Kong is the world's largest offshore Renminbi (RMB) business centre.  At the end of last year, RMB deposits and outstanding RMB certificates of deposits totalled more than RMB 1 trillion, accounting for 70 per cent of the offshore pool of RMB liquidity.  RMB trade settlement conducted through Hong Kong banks last year exceeded RMB 3.8 trillion, with a year-on-year increase of 45 per cent.  The average daily turnover on Hong Kong's RMB RTGS system has posted a remarkable increase of nearly 100 fold from RMB 5 billion in 2010 to RMB 500 billion at end-2013.  In the past few years, the RMB transactions conducted between local and overseas banks have increased substantially.  The amounts due to and due from overseas banks have each increased significantly by more than eight times, from less than RMB 20 billion at end-2010 to some RMB 160 billion.

75.    The RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFII) Scheme was further expanded last year, bringing the total investment quota to RMB 270 billion, exceeding the aggregate quota of all other offshore RMB centres.  The RQFII Scheme facilitates the launch of more innovative and diversified RMB investment products in Hong Kong to promote two-way flow of RMB funds between the Mainland and Hong Kong.

76.    The Ministry of Finance issued sovereign bonds in Hong Kong twice last year, totalling RMB 23 billion, and offered for the first time sovereign bonds of 30-year tenor.  This demonstrates the regularisation of the issuance of RMB sovereign bonds in Hong Kong by the Central Government.

77.    The proposals in the Mainland's blueprint for the deepening of reforms include further opening up the financial industry and the capital markets both domestically and externally.  We shall continue to support our country's accelerated drive to realise capital account convertibility and internationalisation of the RMB by acting as a bridge between our nation and the rest of the world, and serving as a platform for Mainland funds and enterprises to reach out to the international market.

78.    The world's financial centres are developing offshore RMB business.  Hong Kong, with its first-mover advantage, is well-positioned to provide RMB services to overseas financial institutions at the wholesale level.  At the same time, we should strengthen our existing services, including RMB trade financing, RMB-denominated financial products and cross-border reinsurance, direct cross-border investment from the Mainland, asset management and fund development.  Consensus has been reached between the Securities and Futures Commission and relevant Mainland authorities on the mutual recognition of funds.  On implementation, this arrangement will further promote the diversification of fund products in the Mainland and Hong Kong.



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