China has removed restrictions on foreign and national currency trading by overseas banks operating in the country, ahead of liberalisation of the banking sector next month.

In currency exchange trading yesterday the dollar gained against other major currencies, trading at 118.05 yen from 117.54 and the pound falling from $1.8971 to $1.8892.

The Chinese move comes ahead of widespread banking liberalisation agreed when the country joined the World Trade Organisation, due to take effect December 11th.

The change will allow overseas banks and those operating in China under joint Sino-foreign ownership to buy currency without restrictions.

Overseas banks will remain banned from taking renminbi deposits of less than one million yuan ($127,000) and individuals have to seek regulatory approval above this.

The Chinese government has gradually moved toward loosening controls on the yuan and unpegged the currency from an artificially high level
against the dollar in 2005.