BEIJING, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The trading of Swap Connect, an interest rate swap market access scheme, was officially launched on Monday, according to the People's Bank of China (PBOC).
More than 40 domestic and overseas institutions participated in the newly launched program on Monday. They completed 162 renminbi (RMB) interest rate swap transactions, with a notional value of 8.259 billion yuan (about 1.19 billion U.S. dollars), data from the China Foreign Exchange Trade System shows.
Under the program, domestic and overseas investors will be allowed to conduct RMB interest rate swap trading and clearing via infrastructure institutions in the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the PBOC said in an online statement.
With institutional arrangements made in trading, clearing and settlement, investors will be able to participate in financial derivatives markets on the mainland and in HKSAR without changing their existing trading practices, the central bank said.
The rollout of the scheme marked an important step in China's financial opening-up and reflected the firm determination of the Chinese central government to support the long-term prosperity, stability and development of the HKSAR, said Pan Gongsheng, deputy governor of the PBOC, while addressing the launching ceremony.
As a market maker for Swap Connect, Deutsche Bank noticed active trading via the program on the day of its launch.
"Overseas investors attached much importance to Swap Connect and actively participated in it," said Xu Zhaoting, head of RMB trading, Global Emerging Market at Deutsche Bank, highlighting overseas investors' welcome and recognition of the new program.
The Swap Connect will consolidate and improve Hong Kong's status as an international financial center, provide a more convenient channel to manage interest rate risks, and steadily promote China's financial opening-up, the central bank said.
To ensure the smooth running of the program, the PBOC has also worked with Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to strengthen regulation and improve liaison and negotiation mechanisms.
Based on the operation of the scheme, operational arrangements will be further fine-tuned, the central bank said.
Overseas investors have shown growing interest in RMB-denominated assets. In January, overseas investors' net purchases of domestic shares hit a record high, Wang Chunying, deputy head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, told a press conference in April.
Looking ahead, there will still be room for foreign capital to flow in as the Chinese economy is picking up and China's financial market will be steadily opened up, Wang said.