Chinese yuan banknotes
A clerk counts 100 Chinese yuan banknotes at a branch of China Merchants Bank in Hefei, Anhui provinceReuters

The International Monetary Fund has despatched a team to China as part of its review into whether to include the yuan in its basket of currencies.

An IMF official told Reuters that the global lender's review of the Special Drawing Right (SDR) was "underway and the technical work is still at an early stage."

"As part of the review, an IMF team is visiting China to have technical discussions," the official said.

The SDR is an international reserve asset created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries' official reserves. Its value is based on a basket of four key international currencies. The SDRs can be exchanged for freely usable currencies.

The SDR basket consists of the euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling and the US dollar. The basket composition is reviewed every five years by the executive board. The next review is scheduled to take place by the end of 2015, according to the IMF website.

The news agency said China has been pushing to get the yuan added in the SDR basket, which could raise its standing in the global financial system and mark an important step in Beijing's emergence as a global power.

IMF
IMF Reuters

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has been reported as saying that it was a matter of time before the yuan is included in the IMF's unit of accounting, although US officials have said the currency is not yet ready.