China Dumping More Than Treasuries as U.S. Stocks Join Fire Sale

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For the past year, Chinese selling of Treasuries has vexed investors and served as a gauge of the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

The People’s Bank of China, owner of the world’s biggest foreign-exchange reserves, burnt through 20 percent of its war chest since 2014, dumping about $250 billion of U.S. government debt and using the funds to support the yuan and stem capital outflows.

While China’s sales of Treasuries have slowed, its holdings of U.S. equities are now showing steep declines. Continue reading

Foreign governments dump U.S. debt at record rate

In a bid to raise cash, foreign central banks and government institutions sold $57.2 billion of U.S. Treasury debt and other notes in January, according to figures released on Tuesday. That is up from $48 billion in December and the highest monthly tally on record going back to 1978. Continue reading

China Actually Has Two Currencies—And It’s Fiddling Around With Both

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The problem with micromanaging the economy is that things become rather complicated. That’s why China needs two currencies, one for the mainland, one for international banks. Since the devaluation on August 11, it seems China is losing control of both.

The Renminbi (RMB) or yuan is used within mainland China and can be exchanged for other currencies very restrictively. It is primarily used in trade but also for tightly regulated inbound and outbound investments.

There is no real market for this exchange rate, instead the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) comes up with a fix every day and then trades around it. Continue reading

China Rattles Markets With Yuan Devaluation

In other words: China has officially entered the currency wars.

 

China devalued the yuan by the most in two decades, a move that rippled through global markets as policy makers stepped up efforts to support exporters and boost the role of market pricing in Asia’s largest economy.

The central bank cut its daily reference rate by 1.9 percent, triggering the yuan’s biggest one-day drop since China unified official and market exchange rates in January 1994. The People’s Bank of China called the change a one-time adjustment and said it will strengthen the market’s ability to determine the daily fixing.

Chinese authorities had been propping up the yuan to deter capital outflows, protect foreign-currency borrowers and make a case for official reserve status at the International Monetary Fund. Tuesday’s announcement suggests policy makers are now placing a greater emphasis on efforts to combat the deepest economic slowdown since 1990 and reduce the government’s grip on the financial system. Continue reading

Renminbi could overtake US dollar in a decade: economist

The renminbi could overtake the leadership of the US dollar as an international trade currency with China’s creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and its energy alliance with Russia, writes the Beijing-based Reference News. Continue reading

Oil-Rich Nations Are Selling Off Their Petrodollar Assets at Record Pace

In the heady days of the commodity boom, oil-rich nations accumulated billions of dollars in reserves they invested in U.S. debt and other securities. They also occasionally bought trophy assets, such as Manhattan skyscrapers, luxury homes in London or Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.

Now that oil prices have dropped by half to $50 a barrel, Saudi Arabia and other commodity-rich nations are fast drawing down those “petrodollar” reserves. Some nations, such as Angola, are burning through their savings at a record pace, removing a source of liquidity from global markets.

Continue reading

Yes, It’s Possible For A Gold-Backed Renminbi To Dethrone The US Dollar

“Mutually assured destruction” was a doctrine that rose to prominence during the Cold War, when the US and the USSR faced each other with nuclear arsenals so populous that they ensured that any nuclear exchange between the two great military powers would quickly lead to mutual overkill in the most literal sense.Notwithstanding the newly dismal relations between the US and Russia, “mutually assured destruction” now best describes the uneasy stand-off between an increasingly indebted US government and an increasingly monetarily frustrated China, with several trillion dollars’ worth of foreign exchange reserves looking, it would now appear, for a more productive home than US Treasury bonds of questionable inherent value.

Until now, the Chinese have had little choice where to park their trillions, because only markets like the US Treasury market (and to a certain extent, gold) have been deep and liquid enough to accommodate their reserves. Continue reading

Is China buying influence at Cambridge University?

Beijing: A charity that gave £3.7 million ($A6.6 million) to Cambridge University to endow a professorship for Chinese development studies is run by members of the family of the country’s former prime minister, Wen Jiabao, according to a well-placed source in Beijing.

The donation from the Chong Hua Foundation in January 2012 raises serious questions over whether Beijing is buying influence at one of Britain’s most important universities, with one academic accusing it of allowing the Chinese government “to appoint a professor at Cambridge”.

Cambridge University had previously denied that Chong Hua had links to the Chinese government, but information recently received by The Telegraph indicates that the foundation is controlled by Wen Ruchun, the daughter of China’s former prime minister. Continue reading

PBOC Says No Longer in China’s Interest to Increase Reserves

The People’s Bank of China said the country does not benefit any more from increases in its foreign-currency holdings, adding to signs policy makers will rein in dollar purchases that limit the yuan’s appreciation.

“It’s no longer in China’s favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves,” Yi Gang, a deputy governor at the central bank, said in a speech organized by China Economists 50 Forum at Tsinghua University yesterday. The monetary authority will “basically” end normal intervention in the currency market and broaden the yuan’s daily trading range, Governor Zhou Xiaochuan wrote in an article in a guidebook explaining reforms outlined last week following a Communist Party meeting. Neither Yi nor Zhou gave a timeframe for any changes. Continue reading

China’s central bank may have secretly bought 300t of gold this year

Gold movements by central banks are closely watched by the market. None more so than the People’s Bank of China.China’s gold reserves are officially put at 1,054 tonnes – a number officials haven’t updated since 2009. Continue reading

U.S. debt default? Asian policymakers ready $6 trillion forex safety net

As the U.S. struggles to avert a debt default, Asia’s policymakers have trillions of reasons to believe they may be shielded from the latest financial storm brewing across the Pacific.

From South Korea to Pakistan, Asia’s central banks are estimated to have amassed some $5.7 trillion in foreign exchange reserves excluding safe-haven Japan, much of it during the last five years of rapid money printing by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Data this week showed those reserves continued to pile up, with countries having added an estimated $86.7 billion in the July-September quarter, according to data for 12 Asian countries whose reserves are tracked by Reuters. Continue reading

China Considers Offering Aid in Europe’s Debt Crisis

HONG KONG — Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said Thursday that China was considering whether to work with the International Monetary Fund to play a greater role in financing Europe’s efforts to end a sovereign debt crisis, but he left it unclear whether China was willing to drop conditions that would make its help unappealing for European countries.

Mr. Wen, speaking at a press conference in Beijing after a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on the first day of her three-day visit to China, said that officials were studying whether China should be “involving itself more” in Europe’s debt troubles through investments in the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Stability Mechanism. This could be done through the I.M.F., he said.

One idea under consideration by China in recent months is whether it could lend money to the I.M.F., which would then lend it to Europe. This would transfer the risk of a European default to the I.M.F.

Russia embraced this approach in December, but was willing to lend only $20 billion. China had $3.18 trillion in foreign exchange reserves at the end of December, dwarfing the reserves of every other country and potentially giving it the financial power to make a much bigger contribution.

Mrs. Merkel is the first of several European leaders scheduled to visit China this month, the latest in a series of signs that China’s huge foreign exchange reserves have begun to give it financial influence to rival Washington’s.

Full article: China Considers Offering Aid in Europe’s Debt Crisis (New York Times)

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