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Osborne eyes UK/China stockmarket deal

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Chancellor George Osborne says Britain and China will “stick together” as he aims to make the UK China’s primary base of finance in the West.

In a speech to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Osborne said the recent market falls in the country and subsequent moves by the government to prop markets up and devalue its currency should not put the UK off tightening ties with the country.

He said: “Whatever the headlines, regardless of the challenges, we should not be running away from China.

“Quite the opposite: we should run towards China.”

The two countries are also looking at the feasibility of linking stockmarkets, to provide more liquidity for Chinese markets. Details of how this could work in practice have not yet been disclosed.

Osborne said he chose “the epicentre of the volatility in financial markets this summer” to tie the two countries together.

The moves have already borne fruit, with China issuing short-term renminbi debt to the UK – a first outside of China. Osborne said this showed that the UK is “China’s bridge into western markets”.

“And make no doubt about it, I want the UK to be the natural Western hub for renminbi trading,” he said. The UK already issued renminbi-denominated bonds last year.

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Comments

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  1. Osborne is if nothing else – no fool. But is this really a good idea? The Chinese stockmarket is largely supported by private investors – not institutional investors.

    The Chinese – as anyone who has visited China will know – are inveterate gamblers and treat their stockmarket as a super casino. Do we really need more volatility in our markets?

    Also it should not be overlooked that China is not a capitalist economy in the way we understand it and interference and control by the Communist government might not always coincide with the best of capitalist principles.

    I would have thought that caution should be writ very large.

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