China's Quiet Central Bank Now Wants to Talk to Global Investors

(Bloomberg) -- China’s quiet central bank wants to tell you more about monetary policy.

The People’s Bank of China has boosted the number of statements it puts out in English in recent months, regularly announcing the yuan’s daily reference rate and details of the open market operations. It’s also releasing more statements on policy and commentary from the governor and other officials.

There is “growing attention internationally on China’s financial policy and desire to obtain timely and authoritative information from China’s central bank," the PBOC said in a statement to Bloomberg. The bank has set up a new working group to translate policy statements and news releases, according to the statement.

Even though China’s economy remains mostly shielded behind capital controls, the nation’s goal to open its financial markets to foreign investors and build a global reserve currency means that investors’ perception of monetary policy will become increasingly important in the years ahead. At the moment, the bank is criticized for a lack of transparency, including after the yuan’s sudden devaluation in August 2015.

China's Quiet Central Bank Now Wants to Talk to Global Investors

"These kinds of moves should be a given if China genuinely is attempting to open its financial markets," said Freya Beamish, chief Asia economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics Ltd. "Without an official English translation, non-Chinese speakers are left with snippets from reports. I often find that things are translated in a way that looses the meaning, or important parts of a statement don’t receive the attention they deserve."

The PBOC has made explanatory comments on interbank liquidity each day since mid-2017, giving markets a better insight into the decision-making behind daily operations.

Even so, the International Monetary Fund said last month that the central bank would benefit from greater transparency, including regular press briefings and timely release of information.

Unlike its global peers, the PBOC doesn’t hold regular press conferences. The only scheduled press conference that foreign media can attend is in March, during the meeting of the National People’s Congress.

The bank has a track record of making unexpected announcements, especially on Friday nights. Its latest quarterly monetary policy report was published after 10 p.m. on a Friday night.

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