China will let its currency slowly appreciate

After months of subtle pressure from the United States and other nations, China has signaled a willingness to adjust its currency policies.

China’s central bank announced on Saturday evening that it would allow greater flexibility in the value of the country’s currency, in the clearest sign yet that China will allow the renminbi to appreciate gradually against the dollar.

The People’s Bank of China said that the Chinese economy was strengthening after the global financial crisis and that it was “desirable to proceed further with reform” of the currency, known as the renminbi or yuan. The announcement comes a week before world leaders gather in Canada for the Group of 20 and Group of 8 summit meetings. A growing number of countries have been calling for China to let the renminbi appreciate, including not just the United States and European nations, but India, Brazil and Singapore in recent weeks.

This is big news. For years China has kept its currency artificially low vs the dollar. Now we might see an adjustment that let’s the market have more of an impact on the value of the currency, which can help with the China/US trade deficit.

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