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Malaysia: Economist says Chinese Yuan to speed up Asian economic integration

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Malaysia: Economist says Chinese Yuan to speed up Asian economic integration

Posted 07:30 AM ET

Mar 06, 2010 (BBC Monitoring via COMTEX) -- [Unattributed report from the 'Main' section: "China Can Speed Up Integration of Asian Economies, Says Economist"]

KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 (Bernama) - The future of the global economy will depend on emerging markets as countries around the world gradually exit the protracted financial crisis.

In stating this, Citi's chief economist for Greater China, Shen Minggao, said China's renminbi (RMB) could become one of the world's top five currencies by 2020 as the country's economic scale already met the criterion of an international currency.

He said that wider acceptance of the renminbi could accelerate the integration of Asian economies.

"We expect the de-peg to happen in this first quarter this year but due to rising political tensions pertaining to the United States, we expect the appreciation process by middle of the year," Shen said.

"The RMB could be hostage to political and financial conditions near term, if only partially from the US dollar this year," he told reporters at the Citigold Wealth Management Leadership Series held here Saturday.

"At the moment, we expect there will not be further tightening in the near term, unless inflation picks up unexpectedly," he said.

Shen said China was expecting a 20 per cent export growth in the first half of this year.

"This will allow some room for flexibility for policy makers to move the currency," he said.

China has become the world's third largest economy, depending mainly on agriculture, industry, services and exports.

Today, the country is one of the largest producers of grains, cotton, oil plants, fruits, meat, eggs, aquatic products and vegetables, and is also known for its toys and electronics.

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