Skip to main content

DECEMBER 28, 2011
U.S. Criticizes Japan, China on Currencies

The Obama administration again declined to label China a currency manipulator, while it criticized Japan's efforts to limit the yen's appreciation.

The Treasury Department, in its overdue semiannual currency report, offered its most direct criticism to date of Japan's two latest currency interventions, which the U.S. didn't support. The move could complicate any further attempts by Tokyo to intervene in currency markets.

Treasury also said in the report, released Tuesday, that it would continue to press Beijing for greater exchange-rate flexibility, as well as to level the playing field for foreign companies and to shift China's economy away from export-led growth.

In the report, the department said that "While China's real exchange rate has appreciated, the process of appreciation remains incomplete." The report noted that the yuan has appreciated nearly 12% against the U.S. dollar on an inflation-adjusted basis since June 2010.

Heard: New Chiefs, Last Chance, for China
Japan Renews Pledge to Act Over Yen

"China's longstanding pattern of reserve accumulation, the persistence of its current-account surplus and the incomplete appreciation, especially given rapid productivity growth in the traded-goods sector, indicate that the real exchange rate of the renminbi is persistently misaligned and remains substantially undervalued," the report said.

The latest report, which will likely further inflame China critics in Congress, was released while lawmakers were away for the holidays.

Officials at the Chinese Embassy in Washington weren't immediately available to comment.

On Japan, the Treasury report noted that "rather than reacting to domestic 'strong yen' concerns by intervening to try to influence the exchange rate, Japan should take fundamental and thoroughgoing steps to increase the dynamism of the domestic economy, increase the competitiveness of Japanese firms—including those in utilities and services—and raise potential growth."

The U.S. and other Group of Seven nations joined Japan in a yen intervention after the March 11 earthquake. But the U.S. declined to back Japan's two latest moves, saying the currency should be based on market fundamentals.

Market participants in Japan said early Wednesday that they were surprised by the strong language used in the Treasury report and predicted that it would make it more difficult for Tokyo to again enter the market to try to weaken the yen.

"We knew that the U.S. has not welcomed Japan's recent interventions, but this clear a message was quite a surprise," said Junya Tanase, chief currency strategist at J.P. Morgan in Tokyo.

A Japanese government official said in reaction to the report that there would be "no changes" in the nation's foreign-exchange policy, adding that Japan will continue to explain Japan's foreign exchange policy to other governments.

Japan has repeatedly said it would intervene to stop what it termed excess volatility and has said the yen's strength near postwar highs against the dollar wasn't warranted by the fundamentals of the Japanese economy.

The U.S., as expected, opted not to name China a currency manipulator though it called the yuan appreciation "insufficient." Designating China as a "currency manipulator" would be a significant ratcheting-up of public pressure on Beijing, but in practical terms would do little besides trigger new talks between the U.S. and China on its currency.

In October, Treasury had said it would delay the currency report, in the hopes of using global summits as leverage to persuade China to let the yuan appreciate more quickly.

It is clear the Obama administration is aware that the pace of yuan appreciation will slow next year: Economists in China have widely forecast that will happen because of slowing export growth.

In 2012, China is expected to have a current-account surplus under the 4% mark that U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner tried—and failed—to make a standard for Group of 20 review at the G-20 summit in November 2010. But the administration's hands are tied politically, given the important role China is playing in the presidential campaign.

Substantively, the White House is likely to argue that Beijing should continue with a more rapid pace of appreciation because that will help China make the transition to domestically led growth. But the real question is whether the Chinese will plan for any appreciation in the yuan at all.
—Jeff Bater and Bob Davis contributed to this article.
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

China, Japan agree to start direct trading of currencies

The deal is part of a move away from global reliance on the dollar
By Edward Wong and Natasha Singer / New York Times News Service
Published: December 27. 2011 4:00AM PST

BEIJING — China and Japan have agreed to start direct trading of their currencies, officials announced during a visit here Monday by Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda.

Japan will also apply to buy Chinese bonds next year, allowing it to accumulate more renminbi in its foreign-exchange reserves.

The moves were among several that emerged from Noda’s meetings with President Hu Jintao, which focused on how the two nations could work together to maintain peace on the Korean peninsula.

China is the world’s second-largest economy while Japan is the third largest, and the currency agreement is part of a move away from using dollars. Chinese officials have said recently they would like to broaden the global use of the renminbi, also known as the yuan, and want to see more countries move away from relying on dollars as the worldwide currency.

They hold the world’s largest foreign-currency reserves — China has about $3.2 trillion, while Japan holds $1.3 trillion — and any moves to reconstitute the makeup of those holdings could change the global currency map.

“Chinese officials have made it clear that they believe the international economy is too heavily dominated by the dollar,” said Charles Kupchan, a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University in Washington and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “They believe, as part of China’s rise, that the international system should move to a more balanced structure.”

Because the renminbi is not fully convertible, however, it will not compete any time soon with the dollar and the euro as a global reserve currency, he said. Still, the new agreement “could be a baby step in that direction,” Kupchan said.

Experts in global trade said China and Japan had both practical and political motives for the currency pact. Neither side has announced a timetable, agreeing only that officials will discuss possible measures.

Given the proximity of China and Japan, along with the likelihood that the two countries will serve as each other’s biggest trading partners over the next century, it makes sense for them to trade directly without using U.S. dollars, said Jeffrey Bergstrand, a professor of finance at Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

And the more China loosens its grip on the renminbi, helping to correct what by some measures is a currency undervalued by almost 40 percent against the dollar and 45 percent against the yen, the greater its purchasing power will become, allowing it to import more. This is especially important for Japan, which has been reeling as the dollar has weakened, making U.S. consumers unable to spend as much on Japanese electronics and cars as they used to.

From a practical standpoint, both China and Japan want to reduce the transaction costs of direct bilateral trade and the risks of volatility in exchange rates, said Kupchan.

“With markets looking askance at both the euro and the U.S. dollar, investors in both China and Japan would find it attractive to trade directly,” Kupchan said.

On a more political level, he said, the pact also represents an important step in improving bilateral ties between Beijing and Tokyo.

As for the long-term ramifications for the United States, analysts said it was difficult to predict before the pact took effect.

In the shorter term, the agreement is likely to lead to continued weakening of the dollar against the Chinese yuan, Bergstrand said. That should help the U.S. trade deficit with China, he said, boosting U.S. imports while weakening imports from China. On the other hand, he said, the Sino-Japanese currency agreement is likely to diminish the dominance of the dollar in global trade.

“The Chinese yuan will increasingly play an important role in Asia,” he said. “It does mean that the U.S. dollar will be less important as a currency for transactions in Pacific rim trade.”

Bergstrand compared the role of the dollar on the world stage now to the waning of the British pound 100 years ago as the most prominent currency for international transactions.

For more than a decade, critics have said the Chinese government has kept the value of its currency artificially low, giving Chinese exporters an unfair advantage over their U.S. counterparts by making Chinese goods cheaper overseas. Washington has pushed for a revaluation. Beginning in June 2010, facing increased inflation, China began to let its currency float gradually up.

Kupchan 7said the currency pact is more symbolic than significant right now for the United States. “This pact hardly unseats the dollar as the world’s dominant currency,” he said. “But it is a clear sign that China is headed in the direction of internationalizing the renminbi.”
Originally posted by SuperMike:
and another war in the making with Iran when the country dey deep in the shyte hole.
Before waging war on China and Japan the us 0f a has to defeat Iran. Now defeating Iran will take from 10 to 20 years after which time China will have become by far the largest economy on the planet. As you can see, the US is in deep shyt.
Originally posted by Ramakant_p:
With china, Japan and India not trading in the US dollar, It wouldn't amount to much..

The East Countries would soon follow..
Well, you are talking about the third and second economies in the world. That's a lot of trade.

Add Reply


Link copied to your clipboard.