SINGAPORE, Feb. 20 -- The Singapore Branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) said it has made two cross-border yuan loans to two firms based in Shanghai's pilot free trade zone on Thursday, shortly after an announcement by China's central bank to allow such transactions.
The loans were 100 million yuan (about 16.4 million U.S. dollars) to a subsidiary of the Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation and 70 million yuan to a distribution center of the Sinopharm Group, it said in a press release.
They are the first cross-border Renminbi financing transaction between Singapore and the experimental free trade zone in Shanghai.
The transaction was carried out with the funds immediately transferred using the yuan clearing platform of ICBC Singapore, which has been designated as the yuan clearing bank.
The People's Bank of China on Thursday announced that it will give support to the extended cross-border use of Renminbi in the free trade zone in Shanghai, which has been created as a test bed for financial and other reforms to help further open-up efforts.
The newly announced rules allow cross-border Renminbi loans made by lenders outside China to enterprises and non-banking financial institutions based in the free trade zones in Shanghai, albeit with a specified limit. The funds borrowed can only be used to finance manufacturing and business operations, projects in the free trade zone and those outside the Chinese mainland.
The move is expected to open up another source of Renminbi funding from the offshore markets to the enterprises and institutions based in the free trade zone.