Tightly Controlled Chinese Yuan in Surprise Slide

人民币出人意料贬值
人民币百元钞票

VOA News William Ide,August 12, 2015

In a surprise move Tuesday, China’s central bank let the country’s tightly controlled Chinese currency, or yuan, see its biggest one-day drop in two decades. Analysts say the slide highlights growing strains in the world’s second largest economy, and there are concerns that such a dramatic one-off move could spark a currency war.
 
The value of the Chinese yuan has been gradually rising for a decade, and Tuesday’s fall was its biggest slide since 1994.
 

The 1.9 percent slide of the yuan against the dollar, just shy of its daily up or down limit of two percent, comes just days after China announced that exports had once again fallen, contracting more than eight percent from the previous year in July.
 
The fact that exports have been consistently down in the first half of the year is not the only factor, analysts said. The recent volatility in the country’s stock market, which is likely to have an impact on the country’s already slowing economy in the second half of the year, also played a role.
 
Breathing room
 
But aside from China’s broader economic challenges, the currencies of most of the major countries that China does trade with have been weakening, even as the yuan has remained relatively steady.
 
Analysts note that while the Chinese yuan has remained largely stable against the U.S. dollar for a year now, other currencies such as the Euro and Japanese Yen have weakened, putting pressure on the currency and hurting exports.
 
“If we look at the real effective exchange rate, which is against a basket of currencies that compose China’s major trade partners, it has appreciated somewhere in the range of 13 percent,” said Brian Jackson, senior economist at IHS Economics’ China Regional Service in Beijing. “So what that’s meant is that over the past year, exports from China to other countries besides the United States have become 13 percent more expensive.”

The People’s Bank of China has said the sharp one-day decline in the value of the yuan was aimed at making the currency more market oriented. It has focused less on the economic pressures that have coincided with the move.
 
In the past, China would set a midpoint for trading each day based on a basket of currency rates. From that that point, the market could go up or down at least two percent. But in many cases, it would intervene if it felt necessary.
 
Now, the daily fix for the trading band will be based on a basket of major currencies and where the yuan closed in the previous trading session.
 
Brian Jackson at IHS Economics said the move could be a gradual step toward transparency, but much depends on what happens next.
 
“Really what we’ll have to see is whether or not they continue to see one-off depreciations at coincidental times or if this really was just a one-time devaluation,” he said.
 
Unlike most currencies, China’s yuan is not fully convertible, or freely traded on the international open exchange market. But Beijing has been working to internationalize its currency in recent years.
 
Liao Qun, chief economist at China CITIC Bank International, says the move is a step in the right direction toward the liberalization of the Chinese currency.
 
“Since the renminbi [the name in Chinese for the yuan] is still not freely traded, the People’s Bank of China will continue to intervene, but perhaps given the new announcement and reforms, the degree to which they will intervene will be much less frequent,” he said.

人民币出人意料贬值

美国之音艾德,2015年8月12日

中国严格控制的货币周二出现近20年来的最大跌幅。中国政府说,这次贬值将使人民币汇率更加市场化。但分析人士说,本次贬值也似乎是为了让出口企业有更多喘息空间。

人民币币值过去十年缓慢上涨,周二的下跌是1994年以来最大下滑。1.99%的跌幅刚好卡在每日汇率2%的浮动限制内。这次贬值紧随几天前中国宣布的出口再次下降消息,今年七月出口同比下降8%以上。
 
分析人士说,中国股市近期的波动也有一定影响。 

人民币过去一年保持对美元汇率的基本稳定,但是欧元和日元等货币疲软,这对于人民币汇率有很大压力,并殃及出口。

HIS公司中国地区经济学家布赖恩·杰克逊说: “如果我们看看实际有效汇率,对中国主要贸易伙伴的货币来说,人民币已经升值了13%左右。这也就意味着,在过去一年,中国出口到美国以外国家的商品已经贵了13%。”

中国央行表示,将使货币更加以市场为导向。过去,基于一篮子货币汇率,央行每天设置一个货币交易的中间点,人民币可以每天升值或贬值2%。但在很多情况下,央行都会干预。现在,每日的交易浮动范围将取决于主要货币以及人民币在头一个交易日结束时的汇率。

HIS 经济咨询部的布赖恩·杰克逊说,此举可能进一步加强透明度。 

 “我们将要看看他们是否会在合适的时机再一次贬值,或者说这次真的仅仅是一次性贬值。” 

中信银行首席经济学家廖群,称此举是朝中国货币自由化迈进的一步。 

他说,由于人民币仍未自由交易,央行将继续干预,但考虑到改革的方向和最新宣布的决定,他们介入的频率会比以前低很多。
 
如果中国确实让市场发挥更大作用,此举可能有助于人民币国际化。中国正在寻求国际货币基金组织(IMF)将人民币纳入特别提款权,让人民币和美元、欧元、日元和英镑一样成为储备货币。