A Chinese clerk counts RMB Jie Zhao/Getty Images

Las maquinaciones equivocadas sobre el tipo de cambio de China

BEIJING – El 11 de agosto de 2015, el Banco Popular de China (PBOC) determinó que la paridad central del tipo de cambio del renminbi frente al dólar estadounidense se fijaría con referencia al precio de cierre del día de operaciones anterior, dentro de una banda del 2%. Fue una decisión audaz para tener un tipo de cambio más flexible e impulsado por el mercado. Pero el anuncio de la reforma hizo que el mercado entrara en pánico, lo que desencadenó una caída del 3% del renminbi en apenas cuatro días de operaciones. De manera que se la abandonó rápidamente.

Ese cambio de política, si bien es entendible, resulta lamentable. Durante el resto de 2015, el PBOC se esforzó por impedir que el renminbi se debilitara. Después de invertir una enorme cantidad de reservas de moneda extranjera, en febrero de 2016 decidió introducir una nueva regla para fijar el tipo de paridad central.

Según la nueva regla, la tasa de paridad central tendría en cuenta no sólo el precio de cierre del día de operaciones anterior, sino también el "tipo de cambio teórico" que mantendría inalterado, en las 24 horas previas, el índice del Sistema de Comercio de Divisas de China (CFETS). En otras palabras, siempre que se registrara un cambio en el índice del dólar estadounidense, el PBOC tendría que intervenir en el mercado de divisas para alinear el tipo de cambio renminbi-dólar determinado por el mercado con el tipo de cambio teórico que mantenía estable el índice del CFETS.

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