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China's cross-border RMB settlement hits 2.58 trillion yuan

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BEIJING, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- China's cross-border trade settlement in yuan under current accounts hit 2.58 trillion yuan (408 billion U.S. dollars) by the end of 2011 since China launched the pilot program in July 2009, official figures showed on Wednesday.

By the end of 2011, China has signed currency swap contracts worth 1.3 trillion yuan with 14 countries and regions, according to a statement on the website of the People's Bank of China.

In 2011, RMB-denominated offshore direct investment totaled 20.15billion yuan while foreign direct investment settled in RMB on the Chinese mainland topped 90.72 billion yuan, the statement said.

To boost the internationalization of yuan and facilitate trade, China announced last year to broaden the yuan settlement program to include the whole nation, expanding a pilot program previously carried out in 20 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.

Though currently the yuan is not fully convertible under the capital account, China has moved gradually to promote the currency's internationalization over the past few years.

The Chinese government allowed Hong Kong to establish an offshore yuan market, which has fueled RMB-denominated activities there.

By the end of November last year, Hong Kong had issued 25.6 billion yuan of RMB loans and its RMB deposit outstanding amounted to 627.3 billion yuan, accounting for around 10 percent of the total deposits in Hong Kong.

To further boost the international use of yuan, the statement said China will work to widen yuan transaction channels and step up financial services for yuan-denominated investments.

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