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China Expands Yuan's Use in International Trade

Flag of People's Republic of China

Flag of People's Republic of China

China's central bank says it has expanded the number of Chinese exporters allowed to use the yuan to settle international transactions. The People's Bank of China said Monday a trial program that began in July 2009, with 365 Chinese companies using the yuan for international trade, has grown to include 67,359 domestic firms.

The central bank said the value of international trade denominated in yuan was $51 billion from June to November this year - more than seven times the value of such trade at the initial stage of the program.

China has been allowing greater use of its currency for cross-border transactions to reduce its reliance on the dollar. The increase in Chinese exporters participating in the trial program is a step toward making the yuan a global currency.

The Chinese government currently imposes capital controls that restrict the convertibility of the yuan.

Beijing has faced pressure from its trading partners to let the yuan strengthen. The United States and other nations complain the currency is kept artificially weak to give Chinese exporters a trade advantage.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.