16 September 2021

Organised by the Magyar Nemzeti Bank, the sixth Budapest Renminbi Initiative Conference took place in online space this year. At the event, renowned experts from Hungary and abroad analysed central banks’ protection against the global crisis caused by Covid-19 and the role of China and the Renminbi (RMB) following the pandemic.

In March 2015, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank launched the Budapest Renminbi Initiative Conference, linked to the Bank’s Renminbi Program, with a view to strengthening relations with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and promoting dialogue on the significance and effects of internationalising China’s currency.

Although last year’s conference had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year the event has been organised in virtual space thanks to opportunities offered by the digital age. The event was opened by Deputy Governor of the MNB Dr. Mihály Patai. In his speech, he highlighted that geopolitics would rule 21st century thinking, and accelerating digitalisation and the revolution of money might transform our entire thinking on money and central banks. The Deputy Governor underlined that similarly to the People’s Bank of China, the MNB laid special emphasis on digitalisation, financial innovation and environmental sustainability, which might speed up the recovery.

H.E. Mr. Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, delivered a welcome speech at the event. He said that in the new age of global economy following the coronavirus pandemic, Hungary might gain much profit in the race for financial investments from its exceptional relations with China formed under the Policy of Eastward Opening. Owing to this, Hungary was able to conduct the fastest vaccination campaign in the European Union, which might have provided the foundations for the reopening of the economy, let alone the intensive relations with China in the areas of investment and trade.

In a video message, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Hungary H.E. Mr. Dayu Qi pointed out that Hungary’s Policy of Eastward Opening and the ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative were really important in strengthening bilateral relations. He noted that internationalising the renminbi was also key in the recovery of China’s economy.

At the Conference, the invited guests shared their views with the audience at two panel discussions. In a keynote address at the first discussion, Ms. Mei Jin, Chief Representative of the PBoC’s Representative Office for Europe, informed listeners about the results achieved by the PBoC in crisis management, the instruments to help maintain stability in the domestic and international renminbi markets and the facilities to improve the position of market participants.

With Mr. Ádám Banai, the MNB’s Executive Director acting as moderator, the participants in the first panel, Dr. Hong Zhong, Deputy General Manager of the Research Institute, Bank of China Head Office, Mr. Domenico Nardelli, Head of Treasury Department of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Mr. Zoltán Kurali, CEO of the Government Debt Management Agency, shared their views on how China’s currency promoted the restart of the global economy and what role the renminbi might play in the post-crisis global economy and in a reformed international financial system.

Led by a speech by Mr. Changchun Mu, Director General of the PBoC’s Institute of Digital Currency, the main subject of the second panel discussion was the digitalisation of fiat currencies. In the panel, Ms. Yanyun Wang, General Manager of the China Construction Bank (Europe), Hungary Branch, Mr. Lian Cheng, Deputy Director of the Research Center for Payments and Settlements and Research Fellow/Professor at the Institute of Finance & Banking, CASS, and Mr. Binur Zhalenov, Chairman of the Payments and FinTech R&D Centre, National Bank of Kazakhstan, had a discussion. In the virtual round-table negotiation moderated by Ms. Anikó Szombati, the MNB’s Executive Director, the main issue was the PBoC’s central bank digital currency, the e-CNY, being the possible next stage in the development of the monetary system, and the challenges and solutions related to its introduction.

By launching the Renminbi Program, the MNB’s long-term objective has been to take advantage of the growing significance of China’s currency in the international scene, to increase the regional prominence of Budapest in the economic relations between China and Central Europe, and to strengthen foreign economic relations between China and Hungary. The Program is a key instrument in the diversification of investments and sources of funding in Hungary and the intensification of cross-border economic activities. The aim of the Budapest Renminbi Initiative 2021 Conference is to strengthen long-term economic and diplomatic relations between China and Hungary.

The conference can be watched under the following link: