Reply to post: Re: "Replacing the US dollar’s role in international trade is not China’s plan"

China's Digital Yuan not aimed at challenging US dollar, says former People’s Bank governor

I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

Re: "Replacing the US dollar’s role in international trade is not China’s plan"

China would really struggle to replace the dollar. Because having a major international currency has costs as well as benefits. Yes, you have seignorage, which means you can print money and make a small profit - because loads more people want to hold that money. But when you reissue your notes with new designs - you also have to pay to print loads more, because so many are in circulation. You also have to slightly tailor your interest rate decisions, because they have so much more of a global effect. But you can also have more leverage on international businesses in other countries, if they want to trade in dollars. So there's a lot going on.

At the moment China don't even let people freely trade in Yuan. They have exchange and capital controls to try and stop people from getting money out of China - and actually this is one of the reasons they are clamping down on Bitcoin. Because that could be used to circumvent those controls, hence replacing it with their own electronic system. If you can tempt even some people away from Bitcoin by doing that, then you make things harder for the rest - who want to use it to get money out.

China have also been running financial repression for years. This is an economic term, not a political one. It's what our Central Banks have been doing on-and-off since 2008 too. Keep interest rates below inflation, and that forces people to either lose money saving, or invest their money at higher risk, which will hopefully grow the economy faster than if everyone just saved in banks. Or of course persuade them to spend, rather than losing value. In our case it was QE and zero interest rates to avoid post crash (and then Covid) deflation. In China's it's because they have so little healthcare and benefits, so Chinese people have to save for that sort of thing, and old age - and therefore the savings rate was so high that Chinese domestic demand was lower than the Party liked - in order to generate economic growth. As was shown up by the crash in 2007 - where their export markets collapsed.

Since then, if not before, China has been suffering from capital flight. Business people (and Party bosses with their ill-gotten gains), wanting to keep a safe nest-egg abroad. Safe from being seized by the Party - and so China's Central Bank has actually been intervening on the money markets to stop the Yuan from falling in value - not manipulating the currency down as Trump kept complaining. They stopped doing that in about 2005. But you can't be an international reserve currency if you won't let foreigners hold your currency, or let your own people sell it - and it's also pretty tricky to do if you want to control the exchange rates.

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