Business World

Sunday 23 July 2017

Beijing rising currency calls fall on deaf ears

Taoists taking part in a ritual at Hong Kong's financial district yesterday to pray for the city's economic prosperity and social stability
Taoists taking part in a ritual at Hong Kong's financial district yesterday to pray for the city's economic prosperity and social stability

Benjamin Kang Lim

CHINESE Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday spurned foreign calls for the yuan to rise and showed no let-up in scolding the US over recent bilateral tensions.

Mr Wen said calls from the US and other big economies for China to lift the value of its yuan currency were unhelpful, even protectionist, and vowed that Beijing would steer its own way on currency reform.

"We oppose mutual accusations between countries, and even using coercion to force a country to raise its exchange rate, because that's of no help to reforming the yuan exchange rate," Mr Wen said.

"We don't believe that the yuan is undervalued."

Mr Wen cast China both as a benign political and economic power and as the victim of unfair international demands.

The US, the EU and others have long been critical of China's yuan regime. Many US lawmakers complain China's currency is undervalued by as much as 40pc, undercutting the competitiveness of US products.

The risks of deepening economic tensions between Washington and Beijing now hinge on a decision by the Obama administration about whether to call China a "currency manipulator" in a semi-annual Treasury Department report due out on April 15.

Adding to the pressure, US senator Charles Schumer said on Friday that he planned to move forward legislation aimed at stopping China from "manipulating" its currency.

Irish Independent

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