The role of the yuan will be augmented next year following implementation of the China-Asean Free Trade Area, creating a market of almost 2 billion people, Bank of Thailand Governor Tarisa Watanagase told The Nation in a special interview. Asean statistics show the trade value between the regional grouping and China increased from US$59.6 billion (Bt1.98 trillion at today’s rate) in 2003 to $171.1 billion in 2007, a growth rate of about 30 per cent a year.
The centralbank chief was quick to add that the increasing role of the yuan will be gradual, as China still had to meet several challenges – from allowing its currency to be fully convertible and liberalising its financial markets to improving transparency in its rules and regulations.
“We expect to see more yuandenominated transactions next year after the introduction of the freetrade area between China and Asean,” said Tarisa.”The freetrade area provides opportunities and challenges for us. Instead of dealing with only a Thai market of 67 million people, we can have a larger market of 600 million people in Asean and close to 2 billion people in Asean and China combined.”