Chinese market Anadolu Agency | getty images

Europe’s Renminbi Romance

The Chinese are losing confidence in their currency, the renminbi, but that hasn't stopped the West – and Europe in particular – from doubling down on it. Europe's efforts to turn the renminbi into a viable reserve currency could succeed, but only if China embraces further market liberalization.

ROME/MADRID – The Chinese are losing confidence in their currency. Faced with faltering economic growth, the People’s Bank of China has stepped up efforts to restore stability to the renminbi, using its vast foreign reserves to prop up its exchange rate and stem the flow of funds fleeing the country. The PBOC’s governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, has repeatedly stated that there is no basis for continued depreciation, but few in the country seem to be listening. In the last quarter of 2015 alone, the net capital outflow amounted to $367 billion.

And yet crumbling confidence within China has not prevented the West – and Europe in particular – from doubling down on the currency. When the International Monetary Fund announced in December that the renminbi would join the US dollar, the British pound, the euro, and the Japanese yen in the currency basket underlying its unit of account, the Special Drawing Rights basket, the decision was clearly political.

Few would argue that the renminbi meets the IMF’s criteria for inclusion in the SDR currency basket. It is not freely convertible, and access to it is limited both inside and outside China. Some foreign branches of Chinese banks offer renminbi-denominated deposit accounts, and qualified investors can purchase debt instruments pegged to the currency in mainland China. But the volume is capped.

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

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/TqwqtAe;

Handpicked to read next

  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now