China's ICBC keen to be yuan clearing bank in London - president

BEIJING, March 6 Tue Mar 5, 2013 11:38pm EST

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BEIJING, March 6 (Reuters) - Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world's biggest bank by market value, aims to become the clearing bank for offshore yuan business in London, the bank's President Yang Kaisheng said on Wednesday.

"We are striving to be the clearing bank in London, but whether we can succeed will hinge on the decision of regulators and central banks of the both countries," Yang told reporters on the sidelines of China's annual parliament meeting.

"London is a famous international financial centre and it intends to become an offshore yuan trading centre," he said.

London and other global financial centres like Singapore are seeking to capitalise on the rapid growth of the off-shore yuan bond market, which is dominated by Hong Kong.

The Bank of England said last month it would discuss setting up a reciprocal three-year yuan-sterling swap line with the People's Bank of China to finance bilateral trade and investment.

Britain, always anxious to bolster London's status as Europe's biggest financial centre, launched an offshore yuan currency and bond market, and a swap deal would cement its role as the leading centre in the Group of Seven industrialised nations for offshore yuan trade.

China's central bank has named ICBC as the clearing bank for offshore yuan business in Singapore and Bank of China as the clearing bank in Hong Kong.

"We (both banks) will cooperate, but there will be some competition," Yang said.

ICBC will see steady profit growth in 2013 as China's economy is likely to grow around 7.5 percent in line with the official target, Yang said without giving specifics.

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