China's central bank Saturday decided to widen the yuan's trading band against the dollar in a major step towards loosening currency controls.
The yuan is currently allowed to trade 0.5 percent on either side of a midpoint price set by the central bank every trading day.
The new rules -- seen as a shift towards adopting more market-oriented reforms -- will come into effect on Monday and allow the currency to fluctuate by up to 1.0 percent either side, the bank said in a statement.
Beijing's trading partners have long criticised its yuan exchange rate, saying it is kept artificially low, fuelling a flow of cheap exports that have helped trigger huge trade deficits between some countries and China.
However, that pressure has eased since data this year showed China's trade balance with the rest of the world has shifted, ending a long period of huge trade surpluses based on low-cost labour and a cheap yuan.
China has repeatedly vowed to loosen its grip on the yuan as it moves towards full convertibility, but has rejected calls for a faster appreciation for fear of hurting its manufacturing sector, a key driver of its economy.
Saturday's announcement means that the yuan will be allowed to fluctuate further against the dollar but not necessarily appreciate as much as China's trading partners, including the United States, might like.
The bank said the change was decided "in order to meet market demands... (and) enhance the flexibility of RMB (the renminbi, as the yuan is officially known) exchange rate in both directions".
"In view of the domestic and international economic and financial conditions, the People's Bank of China will continue to fulfil its mandates in relation to the RMB exchange rate, keeping RMB exchange rate basically stable."
Ultimately, the government wants the yuan to rival the dollar as a global reserve currency, and to this end it has gradually allowed the currency to trade more freely.
After a pilot programe last year was judged successful, in March this year it gave permission for firms across China to pay for imports and exports in yuan, a way of helping to increase the use of the yuan in trade deals.
Air France, the French network of Air France-KLM said on Wednesday it has suspended its flights to Sierra Leone following advice from the French government
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said that Kiev knew of plans by Russia to halt gas flows this winter to Europe
The inquiry into tycoon Bernard Tapie has embroiled several of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's cabinet members including Lagarde.
The riot broke out in the southern industrial hub of Johor state on Tuesday at a factory run by JCY International , a Malaysian firm that makes parts for electronic giants including Samsung, Hitachi and Western Digital.
Hawaii and U.S. territories have strong dependency on petroleum imports, because of their physical isolation and lack of fossil fuel resources, while their residential electricity prices have been three to five times the average residential prices of the mainland U.S.
Buyers of Kurdish crude could face lawsuits from Baghdad if the oil moves close to U.S. soil and would also require the seller to provide costly indemnities against potential lawsuits
Deep job losses, route cuts and a change of leadership are expected to feature in a restructuring plan being prepared by Malaysia's government
New company will create the third largest global fast-food chain with annual sales of US$23 billion.
Once the international language of royal courts and diplomacy, French has lost ground to English in recent decades
With Russian and Libyan imports at risk, Algeria has become key in safeguarding supplies.
Clashes over economic policy also forced a government reshuffle in France this week as a political battle raged in Europe over whether belt-tightening had gone too far at the expense of economic growth.
The most recent polls show the four-party centre-right coalition government trailing the centre-left opposition by more than 10 points.
The Iranian section of the 97km long pipeline completed
Gamal Qumwa, the chairperson of the energy committee in the Jordanian parliament, said that the preliminary agreement includes supplying Jordan with 150 cubic feet of natural gas from Gaza's field.
The 5,000-member force launched on Friday will be part of the federal police and focus on guarding agriculture, mining, and oil and gas production against criminal groups.
As a candidate for membership of the EU, Serbia is under pressure to bring its foreign policy into line with that of the 28-member EU