By Samuel Shen and Brenda Goh
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - In Beijing's latest push to attract foreign investment into the country's $9 trillion bond market, China's state-owned clearing house said on Saturday that it will work with Canada's TMX Group to expedite cross-border investments.
Shanghai Clearing House, supervised by China's central bank, said in a statement that by exploring ways to link securities registration and custody functions with TMX, "Canadian, and even North American investors will be given easier access to China's bond market."
In addition, the People's Bank of China will further deregulate the bond market by improving legal, accounting, auditing, taxation and credit rating policies, and strengthen communications with overseas investors, the statement said.
China has stepped up efforts to open up its bond market --the world's third largest -- to foreign investors in an effort to promote international use of the yuan. Attracting inbound investment could also help counter capital outflows and support yuan's value as China's economy slows, some analysts have said.
Last month, Citigroup Inc said it would include China's onshore bonds in its emerging markets and regional indexes starting on Feb. 1, 2018, following similar moves by Bloomberg. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced last month that a bond connect scheme with Hong Kong will be launched this year.
Currently, foreign ownership in China's 63.7 trillion yuan ($9.23 trillion) bond market is less than 2 percent.
Shanghai Clearing House said by adopting practices that are more familiar to investors in mature bond markets, China can make its bond market more attractive to foreign investors, and accelerate market deregulation.
The statement was released following a seminar between the Shanghai Clearing House and TMX held in Toronto on April 6.
(Editing by Ros Russell)