Date
11 December 2017
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew holds talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew holds talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

US treasury chief asks Beijing to let yuan float more freely

United States Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has asked China’s leaders to allow the renminbi to float more freely and limit government intervention in the value of the currency, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Speaking before his meetings with Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Wang Yang on Tuesday, Lew urged Beijing to “demonstrate a renewed commitment to move to a more market-determined exchange rate” as well as a “more transparent exchange rate policy”, the newspaper said.

In March, China doubled the range the renminbi could move each day to a maximum of 4 percent, but since then, it has regularly intervened in the market by buying dollars, pushing down the value of the currency, the report said, citing data from the People’s Bank of China. Since the start of the year, the yuan has fallen nearly 3 percent against the greenback.

Central bank officials say they have pushed down the value of the renminbi in order to punish speculators who have been betting on the currency’s appreciation, but it is uncertain when, or if, the central bank will change its policy, according to the newspaper.

The daily movement of the renminbi is already “a reflection of market moves and the balance of supply and demand in the market”, Finance Deputy Minister Zhu Guangyao was quoted as saying.

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