China eases restrictions on foreign investors

China has eased restrictions on foreign investors seeking to put their money into the country's markets, Beijing's latest financial sector reforms as it seeks to boost a slowing economy.

The securities regulator late Friday published new rules allowing qualified institutional investors to hold up to 30 percent of shares in any domestically listed company, up from 20 percent.

The new rules will make it easier for foreign groups to obtain the status of qualified institutional investor, and thus enter the Chinese market, said the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

Foreign investors will now also be able to put their money into China's interbank bond market and high-yield bond market, said the regulator.

The steps should lead to "more long-term foreign investment on China's capital markets," according to a statement from the regulator.

China has introduced a series of reforms to open up its financial markets in recent months in the hope of boosting its economy, which grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter, its slowest pace for more than three years.

Authorities hope to modernise the economy in which a dominant role is still played by state-run banks and huge public companies.

Fresh foreign capital could inject much-needed vigour into the country's markets. The benchmark Shanghai index ended Thursday at 2,126.00 points, its lowest close since March 9, 2009, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

New applications for foreign investors have been sped up recently, with the securities regulator approving 37 new qualified investor licences for the first six months of this year compared with 29 for the whole of last year.

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