11 August 2015

This Is All F%$#Ed up and Sh%$

After many years of complaints by the US that China should let its currency float according to market forces, the Bank of China has broadened the range that it will allow the Yuan to float, having the effect of devaluing the currency:
As China contends with an economic slowdown and a stock market slump, the authorities on Tuesday sharply devalued the country’s currency, the renminbi, a move that could raise geopolitical tensions and weigh on growth elsewhere.

The central bank set the official value of the renminbi nearly 2 percent weaker against the dollar. The devaluation is the largest since China’s modern exchange-rate system was introduced at the start of 1994.


China’s devaluation represents a difficult dilemma for the Obama administration. The United States Treasury has tried to use quiet diplomacy in recent years to encourage China to free up its currency policies, while blocking efforts in Congress to punish China for major intervention in currency markets over the past decade to slow the rise of the renminbi. Many in Congress have long accused China of unfairly building up its manufacturing sector at the expense of American jobs by undervaluing the renminbi, and the Chinese devaluation could fan those criticisms.

In a seeming nod to such concerns, the central bank said that it would begin to use the market closing, not the previous morning’s official setting, to calculate the renminbi’s official daily fixing against the dollar. But China’s economic weakness now means that further opening up of the currency to market forces could mean a weaker renminbi, not a stronger one. That, in turn, would make Chinese goods even more competitive in the United States and Europe.

China’s central bank “has finally thrown in the towel on supporting the renminbi,” said Eswar S. Prasad, a professor of economics at Cornell University. At the same time, he added, easing its grip on the currency’s value “has blunted criticism by combining the currency devaluation with a more market-determined exchange rate.” The United States and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund have called on China to be more hands-off in managing the renminbi.
Obviously there is irony here, but this is real news.

To quote Joe Biden, "This is a big F%$#ing deal."

This is the last best effort by Chinese economists to try to keep the economy moving.

I don't know where this is going, but it is not going to be pretty.


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