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     BEIJING (MNI) - One of China's top financial officials said Thursday that
he is confident the yuan will become one of the world's "anchor currencies."
     Huang Qifan, vice director of the National People's Congress Financial and
Economic Affairs Committee and the former mayor of Chongqing, expressed his
confidence in the yuan's internationalization at the annual Caixin Summit, which
gathers top economic, political and academic leaders. 
     Huang said the yuan would become a major currency for international trade
and transactions, an investment currency and a safe-haven currency "just like
the U.S. dollar" during China's process to further grow its economy. He noted
that China's reformed monetary policy, offering "efficient guidance" on China's
economic development, would credibly boost the yuan on the international market.
     Yu Yongding, former member of the monetary policy committee at the People's
Bank of China, also said at the forum that "there is no better time than now to
let the yuan float freely."
     Yu said a free-floating exchange rate for the yuan is key to preventing the
further worsening of China's "imbalanced" excess foreign reserves problem, which
he attributed to the PBOC's previous intervention in the currency market.
     Other analysts who also attended the summit were equally positive about the
yuan's internationalization.
     Shen Minggao, chief economist of Guangfa Securities, said yuan-denominated
assets would become increasingly popular over the next 20 or 30 years.
     Shen said China's current moves to increase economic independence, such as
switching its economic growth model from relying heavily on exports to a more
diversified growth track, would attract more international investment into
yuan-denominated assets, boosting the yuan.
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 (10) 8532-5998; email: iris.ouyang@marketnews.com
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 (10) 8532-5998; email: vince.morkri@marketnews.com
[TOPICS: M$A$$$,M$Q$$$,MT$$$$]