DUBAI, (Reuters) – The central banks of China and Qatar agreed to strengthen cooperation in areas such as developing their financial markets, a statement said on Thursday, the latest in a series of agreements that the People’s Bank of China has sealed globally in the last several months.
Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attended the signing of the memorandum of understanding on Jan. 18 in Doha, Qatar’s central bank said on its website (www.qcb.gov.qa).
The memorandum boosts cooperation in information exchange as well as the stability and the development of financial market systems, and will spur the development of payments systems, the statement said without elaborating. Central bank officials were not available to comment.
The agreement was signed when Wen toured the Gulf Arab region last month, including Qatar, the world’s top liquefied natural gas exporter, Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
In January, China and the UAE signed a $5.5 billion agreement allowing them to swap supplies of their currencies, a step to facilitate two-way trade and investment.
Countries including Nigeria and Japan have agreed with China to hold yuan assets as part of their foreign exchange reserves or have discussed the issue. In November, the Austrian National Bank said it had become the first central bank outside Asia able to invest in Chinese local-currency assets.
Beijing is keen to acquire the political influence that an internationally used currency confers, and some economists think the renminbi could become a reserve currency on a par with the dollar, euro and yen within a decade.