Tags: China | yuan | dominant | dollar

Experts: Chinese Yuan Destined to Become More Dominant

Monday, 03 Dec 2012 01:35 PM

By John Morgan

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China’s rising economic trajectory means the yuan could eclipse the dollar as the world’s top currency, experts say.

China’s growth has already made it the world’s second-largest economy after the United States. But a transition from an export-driven economy to a more consumption-based one was seen as having implications for the strength of the yuan, or renminbi.

“China is clearly seeking to internationalize the renminbi,” Barry Eichengreen, an economics professor at the University of California, told CNBC.

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: 50% Unemployment, 100% Inflation Possible

“It has a sequenced strategy: use in trade settlements first, use for specified investment purposes second, use as reserves third.”

So far in 2012, China has embarked in a flurry of currency-exchange activity. For example, it has reached currency swap deals with Australia, Russia, Japan and Brazil; it has moved toward making loans to Brazil, Russia and India using the yuan; and last week China launched a yuan bond in London.

Analysts at Citi said in a research note obtained by CNBC that “policymakers in Asia are more wary of relative strength of their currencies versus China than Japan.”

Simon Derrick, chief currency strategy for BNY Mellon, noted that China has been reducing growth of its foreign currency reserves. According to CNBC, he speculated China may take active steps to promote yuan covertibility and widen its trading band to coincide with the March 14, 2013 National People’s Congress in Beijing.

Such measures could decrease transaction costs for China’s importers and exporters, Zha Xiaogang, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told CNBC.

“There are many uncertainties about how the U.S. will respond to the dollar’s possible loss of dominant status,” he said. “We are therefore not sure whether the transformation of international monetary system will take place smoothly and peacefully.”

Separately, the South China Morning Post reported that London exchange officials have hatched a strategy to promote London as a leading offshore location for yuan trading.

Mark Boleat, chairman of the policy and resources committee of the City of London, said, “We would definitely want to see sufficient liquidity of [renminbi] here so that people doing business with China can easily buy or sell the currency here to settle trade with their Chinese trading partners.”

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: 50% Unemployment, 100% Inflation Possible

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