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China to Keep Moving Toward Flexible Yuan, U.S. Official Says

China assured the U.S. that it will continue moving toward a more flexible yuan exchange rate, a U.S. Treasury official said.

Chinese officials meeting with their U.S. counterparts in Washington also agreed to allow U.S. and other foreign banks to sell mutual funds and provide financial custodial services in China, the official said in a telephone briefing with reporters today.

No specific target or number for the yuan’s value will be part of formal agreements between the two nations, the Treasury official said.

The currency has been a focal point of the two-day talks among U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and other officials. Geithner said yesterday on the “Charlie Rose” program airing on PBS and Bloomberg Television that China was “moving carefully” in appreciating the yuan.

The U.S. also expects China to allow foreign insurers to sell auto insurance there for the first time, the Treasury official said. The official couldn’t be further identified under rules of the briefing.

China also agreed to inspections to try to ensure that Chinese companies are using only legitimate software, the official said.

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