by Alasdair Macleod, GoldMoney:
China’s recent mini-devaluations had less to do with her mounting economic challenges, and more to do with a statement from the IMF on 4 August, that it was proposing to defer the decision to include the yuan in the SDR until next October.
The IMF’s excuse was to avoid changes at the calendar year-end and to allow users of the SDR time to “adjust to a potential changed basket composition”. It was a poor explanation that was hardly credible, given that SDR users have already had five years to prepare; but the decision confirming the delay was finally released by the IMF in a statement on Wednesday 19th.
One cannot blame China for taking the view that these are delaying tactics designed to keep the yuan out, and if so suspicion falls squarely on the US as instigators. America has most to lose, because if the yuan is accepted in the SDR the dollar’s future hegemony will be compromised, and everyone knows it. The final decision as to whether the yuan will be included is not due to be taken until later this year, so China still has time to persuade, by any means at her disposal, all the IMF members to agree to include the yuan in the SDR as originally proposed, even if its inclusion is temporarily deferred.
China was first rejected in this quest in 2010 and since then has worked hard to address the deficiencies raised at that time by the IMF’s executive board. That is the background to China’s new currency policy and what also looks like becoming frequent updates on her gold reserves. It bears repeating that these moves had little to do with her domestic economic conditions, for the following reasons:
• To have an economic effect a substantial devaluation would be required. That is not what is happening. Furthermore devaluation as an economic solution is essentially a Keynesian proposal and it is far from clear China’s leadership embraces Keynesian economics.
• Together with Russia through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, China is planning an infrastructure revolution encompassing the whole of Asia, which will replicate China’s economic development post-1980, but on a grander scale. This is why “those in the know” jumped at the chance of participating in the financing opportunities through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which will be the principal financing channel.
• China’s strategy in the decades to come is to be the provider of high-end products and services to the whole of the Eurasian continent, evolving from her current status as a low-cost manufacturer for the rest of the world.
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