chinas leadership Stephen Shaver/ZumaPress

China Confronts the Market

China’s current economic woes have largely been viewed through a single lens: the government’s failure to let the market operate. But that perspective has led foreign observers to misinterpret this year’s most important developments in the foreign-exchange and stock markets.

CAMBRIDGE – China’s current economic woes have largely been viewed through a single lens: the government’s failure to let the market operate. But that perspective has led foreign observers to misinterpret some of this year’s most important developments in the foreign-exchange and stock markets.

To be sure, Chinese authorities do intervene strongly in various ways. From 2004 to 2013, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) bought trillions of dollars in foreign-exchange reserves, thereby preventing the renminbi from appreciating as much as it would have had it floated freely. More recently, the authorities have been deploying every piece of policy artillery they can muster in a vain attempt to moderate this summer’s plunge in equity prices.

But some important developments that foreigners decry as the result of government intervention are in fact the opposite. Exhibit A is the August 11 devaluation of the renminbi against the dollar – a move that invoked for US politicians the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for.” The devaluation – by a mere 3%, it should be noted – reflected a change in PBOC policy intended to give the market more influence over the exchange rate. Previously, the PBOC allowed the renminbi’s value to fluctuate each day within a 2% band, but did not routinely allow the movements to cumulate from one day to the next. Now, each day’s closing exchange rate will influence the following day’s rate, implying adjustment toward market levels.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/gB5mOof;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.