The seal of the International Monetary Fund is seen at the headquarters building in Washington, DC on July 5, 2015. (Mandel Ngan / AFP)
WASHINGTON - The expected inclusion of Chinese bonds in the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index next month is an "important milestone" in China's financial integration into the world economy, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) official said Wednesday.
"That step both reflects the importance of those bonds in foreign portfolios and likely will encourage more purchases of those securities going forward," said Changyong Rhee, IMF's director of the Asia and Pacific department, at a book forum held in Washington DC.
In January, Bloomberg confirmed its decision to include renminbi (RMB) government bonds and policy bank bonds in the index beginning in April 2019.
That step both reflects the importance of those bonds in foreign portfolios and likely will encourage more purchases of those securities going forward
Changyong Rhee, IMF's director of the Asia and Pacific department
"This development follows the establishment in 2017 of the so-called Bond Connect, which allows foreigners to enter the Chinese bond market, as well as the authorities' recent commitments to further develop and open the market," Rhee said in his opening remarks of the event.
According to the government work report delivered last week, China will further open up its financial sectors and improve policies to open the bond market.
"Bond market development and global integration will be beneficial for the allocation of resources within the Chinese economy -- and will spur greater asset diversification in China and globally," he said, adding that it could boost China's economic growth and strengthen financial stability.
At the event held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, the IMF senior official highlighted the significance of financial sector reform, calling it "an important element of China's current transition from four decades of high-speed growth toward what is intended to be high-quality growth."
Noting that the "reforms remain a work in progress," he said the process of developing and opening the bond market needs to be managed carefully in order to ensure financial stability.
Rhee suggested China, among other things, improve corporate governance, which means providing timely and reliable information for the capital markets, especially on corporate performance and outlook.
Clear lines of communications about the direction of policy also would be greatly beneficial, especially in terms of reducing market volatility, he said.
The IMF senior official lauded the efforts by the People's Bank of China, which has been "holding more frequent press conferences and providing more real-time information in English."
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