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No move to reserve currency yet: expert

By Cong Mu Source:Global Times Published: 2012-10-21 23:00:07

China's ambition for the yuan to become an international reserve currency like the US dollar has a problem of practicality at the moment, Jing Ulrich, a managing director at US investment bank JP Morgan Chase, told the Global Times Saturday.

"For a currency to become a major international currency, the government needs to be a major issuer of debt, so we have an instrument for foreign central banks to buy," Ulrich said on the sidelines of the Australia-China Youth Dialogue in Beijing.

But China does not need to issue more debt to foreign investors, because it already has $3.2 trillion in foreign reserves and is facing excess liquidity domestically, Ulrich said.

Although she believes that the yuan will become a major world currency eventually, she said that for now, "it's not practical."

The yuan surged to an exchange rate of 6.3021 yuan to the dollar Thursday, the highest since late June, on the back of a stabilizing Chinese economy and a depreciating dollar. The dollar's slide is expected to continue, given that the US Federal Reserve unleashed a third round of quantitative easing on September 13.

The annual GDP growth rate in the third quarter in China was 7.4 percent, up 2.2 percent quarter-on-quarter, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

JP Morgan forecasts a 7.3 percent annual growth rate in the fourth quarter, and 7.6 percent for the full year, which is "very good" by any measure, Ulrich said.

The Chinese economy seems to be stabilizing, but "this time around, the economy is not going to experience a V-shape sharp rebound, because I don't think the central government is going to introduce an aggressive stimulus program," Ulrich said.

Meanwhile, "Europe is not going to give us any growth," in the near to medium-term, and the US is expected to grow by less than 2 percent, she said.

Although investors may not have confidence in the depreciating dollar, they still have to hold the dollar, Ulrich said. "It's very simple - you tell me what the alternative is?"

"The debate (on yuan internationalization) right now ... is whether you wait until the conditions are ready, or whether you can actually develop something now," Song Ligang, director of the China Economy Program at the Australian National University, told the Global Times at the same event.

Song suggested that China should push ahead with the yuan scheme to force a faster institutional change in the international monetary system, and he said that setting up viable offshore yuan markets is critical to the process.

Only 1 percent of the trade between China and Australia is settled in yuan, Charles Li, China CEO of Australian bank ANZ, said at the forum.

To encourage more use of the yuan overseas, Li said that China should offer investors more tools to hedge against currency risks.

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