China revalues yuan; repegs to basket of currencies

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

China Thursday revalued its currency for the first time in about a decade, scrapping the peg to the dollar in favour of a basket of currencies. China Thursday revalued its currency for the first time in about a decade, scrapping the peg to the dollar in favour of a basket of currencies. The currency is now valued at 8.11 yuan to the US dollar compared to the old rate of 8.2765 yuan, effectively a two percent revaluation.

The move was effective from 1100 GMT.

This file photo dated 27 January 2003 shows a woman holding a display of
Chinese 100 yuan notes, with an image of former leader Mao Zedong on the
note, in Beijing. China 21 July 2005 revalued its currency for the first
time in about a decade, pegging the yuan to the US dollar at 8.11, up from
8.28, and also scrapping the decades-old peg to the dollar in favour of a
basket of currencies.

“From today, the renminbi rate against the US dollar will appreciate by two percent,” said the website of China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, (PBOC).

“One US dollar will exchange for 8.11 yuan.”

Almost simultaneously, Malaysia scrapped the ringgit currency’s peg to the dollar and said it would move to a managed float.

The dollar sank to 110.38 yen immediately following the Chinese announcement. It had stood at 112.50 yen before the move.

The PBOC also said it has scrapped the yuan peg to the US dollar and repegged the Chinese unit to a basket of trade-weighted currencies, but did not reveal what they were.

Previously, the foreign exchange trade center said it could include the Hong Kong dollar, the yen, the pound, the Swiss franc, the Australian dollar, Canadian dollar and the euro.

Non-US dollar currencies trading against the yuan will be allowed to trade within certain bands, the central bank added without elaboration.

“The renminbi currency rate will not be pegged only to the US dollar any longer, but according to the actual situation of China’s foreign trade development, it will be pegged to several major currencies in a currency basket to give these currencies relevant importance,” the PBOC said.

China’s yuan, or renminbi, has been pegged to the dollar at 8.28 since 1997.

The last time the Chinese government revalued it was in 1994 when Beijing devalued the currency by over 50 percent, from 5.70 or so to 8.30, from whence it moved up to 8.28 by 1997 where the authorities have held it ever since.

China has come under intense pressure from its trade partners, especially the United States, to revalue the yuan in recent months.

On Wednesday, US Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan warned that Beijing’s policy of pegging the currency to the dollar could cause “very serious” problems for the giant Asian economy.

This was largely because financial operations that China uses to support its currency require the central bank to accumulate “very large” amounts of US Treasury bonds, he said.

US officials have long argued the yuan’s fixed exchange rate against the dollar has left the Chinese currency significantly undervalued, lifting Chinese exports, giving them an unfair advantage, and inflating the US trade deficit.

The trading band which allows the yuan to move 0.3 percent either side of the mid-point is unchanged, the central bank said.

The PBOC said that the move is aimed at solving a host of problems that the 11-year peg to the dollar had been causing on the back of China’s recent economic expansion.

“The move is aimed at easing trade imbalances, boosting domestic demand and increasing Chinese companies’ competitiveness,” the PBOC said.

“It will also help to increase the independence of monetary policy, improve the effectiveness of financial controls, help maintain the basic balance of imports and exports to improve trade conditions, stabilize prices and cut corporate costs.” – AFP