BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese yuan-denominated bonds gained popularity with overseas investors last year, as China's bond market opened up wider to the world.
At the end of 2018, the total amount of yuan bonds owned by overseas institutions under the depository of the China Central Depository & Clearing Co. (CCDC) surged 50.26 percent to 1.51 trillion yuan (about 224 billion U.S. dollars), the CCDC said on its website Tuesday.
The figure accounted for 2.62 percent of the total value of bonds under CCDC depository, up from a share of 1.91 percent at the end of 2017.
The strong growth in overseas holdings of yuan bonds was in part boosted by the Bond Connect program, a market access scheme launched in July 2017 that allows overseas investors to invest in the Chinese mainland's interbank bond market using financial institutions of the mainland and Hong Kong.
By the end of last year, more than 500 registered institutional investors across the globe had chosen Bond Connect to access the Chinese bond market. Meanwhile, the scheme's functions were improved last year, with the delivery versus payment settlement being fully implemented, and pre-trade and post-trade allocations going live.
To further open up the bond market, the country announced in November 2018 that overseas institutions investing in its bond market would be exempted from corporate income tax and value-added tax on their bond interest earnings for a period of three years.