Asian regulators ease restrictions

UBS and Standard Chartered are among the banks in the region applying for the licences, after the China Banking Regulatory Commission said the transactions could now be made for profit, as well as for hedging purposes.

"This is a pretty significant change, which indicates that China is still gradually moving to relax capital controls," said Frank Gong, chief FX strategist at Bank of America in Hong Kong.

The ability to trade derivatives for profit would provide new business opportunities for