Feeling valued

THERE was a time when virtually all the ills of the world economy were blamed on the yuan. Critics charged that China’s intervention to suppress its currency had led to anaemic imports from Europe and America, to a savings glut that flooded America with cheap credit and even to the global financial crisis, since the cheap credit enabled irresponsible lending. The allegations were exaggerations. But it was evident that China had held its exchange rate down, boosting its companies at the expense of others. So it was a notable shift when the International Monetary Fund declared this week that the yuan was “no longer undervalued”.

Not everyone agrees. Jack Lew, America’s treasury secretary, was quick to say that he still sees the yuan as undervalued. With China in their sights, American senators passed a bill earlier in May that could lead to sanctions against foreign countries deemed to manipulate their currencies. The IMF’s previous assessment that the yuan was too cheap had lent a veneer of intellectual credibility to such drives. Its new language strips that away.

The change was a long time in coming. The IMF had...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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