BEIJING - Liberalizing the capital account was the highlight of a number of new pilot measures that China's central bank announced for the Shanghai free trade zone on Friday.
The People's Bank of China said in a statement that individuals in the zone will be allowed to directly buy overseas assets, including businesses, stocks and real estate.
Chinese citizens currently can only make overseas investments through third parties including banks and securities firms.
China will also increase the exchange quota for its citizens in the zone. Currently, each one only has an exchange quota of $50,000 every year.
In addition, the zone will allow more institutions and individuals to buy securities and futures in the domestic and overseas markets.
The central bank did not give a timetable for the measures.
Lu Zhengwei, chief economist with Industrial Bank, said the moves indicate accelerated steps toward capital account liberalization and renminbi internationalization as China is seeking to include renminbi in a basket of reserve currencies by the IMF.
Zhu Ying, president of international business with Agricultural Bank of China's Shanghai branch, said the new policies will make it easier for both individuals and institutions to invest and raise funds across the border.