atans1

China: Link between weak currency and inflation

In China, Economy on 22/01/2011 at 6:06 am

A gd explanation from a biased economist. He wants to use tariffs to “fix” China.

[I]nflation is the market’s way of undoing currency manipulation. China has been using a weak currency to keep its wages and prices low in dollar terms; market forces have responded by pushing those wages and prices up, eroding that artificial competitive advantage. Some estimates I’ve heard suggest that at current rates of inflation, Chinese undervaluation could be gone in two or three years — not soon enough, but sooner than many expected.

China’s leaders are, however, trying to prevent this outcome, not just to protect exporters’ interest, but because inflation is even more unpopular in China than it is elsewhere. One big reason is that China already in effect exploits its citizens through financial repression (other kinds, too, but that’s not relevant here). Interest rates on bank deposits are limited to just 2.75 percent, which is below the official inflation rate — and it’s widely believed that China’s true inflation rate is substantially higher than its government admits.

And “Yes”, simplistic parallels can be drawn with S’pore. But it would be wrong because we have the freedom to invest outside S’pore. The Chinese don’t have that freedom.

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