this year-PBOC@ (Corrects 3rd paragraph to note PBOC governor did not say whether China would devaluate its currency or not) (Adds details, context)
BOAO, China April 11 (Reuters) - China will allow domestic and foreign financial firms to compete on an equal footing and "sharply" expand the business scope for foreign banks, central bank governor Yi Gang said on Wednesday.
The pledge, made at the annual Boao Forum for Asia in southern Hainan province, echoed previous promises from Beijing to open the financial sector but comes at a time of heightened pressure on China from the United States over trade and access to China's markets.
On the trade front, Yi said China and the United States should deal with their trade issues in a rational way. Asked by a panel moderator whether China would devalue its currency to counter U.S. tariffs, Yi said the exchange rate mechanism is "market-determined" and is "working very well as it is." He did not say whether China would devalue its currency or not.
Yi, who became governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC) last month, said China would allow foreign investors into trust, financial leasing, auto finance and consumer finance by the end of the year.
The government would also not set foreign ownership limits for investment in wealth management companies set up by commercial banks by the end of 2018.
Yi renewed China's pledge to further open the financial markets, and said most financial opening measures would be implemented by the end of June. He did not specify exactly what policies he was referring to.
Yi also said interest rate differentials between China and the United States were in a comfortable range, and said China was prepared for global monetary policy normalisation.
(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Writing by John Ruwitch; Editing by Sam Holmes and Kim Coghill)