Business / Opinion

Widen the trading band of the yuan

By Louis Kuijs (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-18 07:39

Widen the trading band of the yuan

Widen the trading band of the yuan 
That means that underlying pressures will in the coming one to two years remain toward appreciation, leaving the yuan
in the hands of policymakers.

Thus, while we expect more volatility in the yuan/US dollar rate, initially, this will in large part have to be policy induced. Eventually, following further appreciation of the yuan and/or more capital outflows, volatility can become more truly market-driven.

What will happen in the coming days? Thinking about the PBoC's considerations, the recent depreciation has been fairly successful in making a point about two-way risk, and the band widening will further help making that point. Also, the PBoC may want to show to broader policymaking circles and domestic economic players that the yuan is still solid. And the recent depreciation involved a lot of intervention on the foreign reserve market, which further increased the PBoC's foreign reserve reserves. Therefore, we would not be surprised to see some strengthening of the yuan vs the US dollar this week, although it is hard to be sure.

What about the trend?. As China's productivity catch-up is clearly not completed, the CPI-based real effective exchange rate will have to continue appreciating, trend-wise. In our analysis, recent developments show that, overall, China's manufacturing sector is handling the trend of real effective exchange rate appreciation well. It is still gaining global market share. And it is strengthening its competitiveness by moving up the value chain. Therefore, we expect the trend towards a stronger yuan to last for quite some time.

The author is chief China economist with The Royal Bank of Scotland.

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