China is to ease curbs on offshore investments in a bid to reduce the rising tide of liquidity in the financial system, state press reported on Saturday.
The new rules widen the scope of a government programme for banks and other institutional investors to tap more than four trillion dollars in national and corporate savings, the
Shanghai Securities News
The move by the China Banking Regulatory Commission is also aimed at easing appreciation pressure on its currency and the pace of growth in foreign reserves that, at 1.2 trillion dollars, are already the world's largest.
According to the commission, individual bank customers will be allowed to invest a minimum of 300,000 yuan (38,900 US dollars) in offshore stocks.
Stocks can account for up to 50 per cent of the net value of an offshore investment product offered by a bank, with the net value of a single stock capped at five per cent, the regulator said.
Investors have so far shunned the government investment scheme, launched in June last year, as regulations have been seen as too stringent.
Banks were only allowed to invest fixed-income products.
Strong appreciation in the yuan and China's booming stock markets have further undermined the programme.
Of the 18.5 billion dollars worth of quotas allocated by March this year, only about five per cent had been used.
Banks are still banned from investing in hedge funds, derivatives and securities rated as risky by investment agencies.