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Safer platform to trade bills of exchange starts

A platform to trade bills of exchange starts today as China’s central bank aims to clamp down on potential fraud in bills trading at major state banks.

To be supervised by the People’s Bank of China, it will be the official platform for the trading of bills of exchange in China’s interbank market, according a PBOC document.

With an initial registered capital of 1.85 billion yuan (US$269 million), the platform will allow the first batch of 43 financial institutions, mainly banks, to conduct a trial run from today to February 17, Caixin said earlier.

Financial institutions participating in the platform will need to register the relevant details of the paper bills into the system, and switch the transactions from offline to online, the central bank’s document said.

Bills of exchange, a short-term debt instrument commonly used in financing international trade and small businesses, can be sold among banks at a discount before they mature.

Regulators have enhanced supervision over trading of bills this year following reports of illegal transactions of paper-based bills.

Two fraud cases had caused the Agricultural Bank of China to lose 3.8 billion yuan and China CITIC Bank to suffer a loss of 969 million yuan after their employees allegedly sold the banks’ bills of exchange to a third-party agency for money to invest in stocks.