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The yuan has been one of the world’s most stable major currencies (economist.com)
47 points by known 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 53 comments



What does that really mean? Is it stable for those who hold it in China where the amount you can legally transfer overseas is limited and that limit has been both going down and much more effectively enforced in recent years?


With a more stable currency, this means more investor confidence, and more confidence for other countries to trade using that currency. There are a lot to be said on this topic, but overall, countries use another's currency to facilitate trade look at 2 main factors: how big your economy is (to cushion the global trade) and how stable your currency is. This was why the pound was THE major global currency about 100 years ago, until it lost its empire, which massively reduced the size of its economy, and hence the mantle was passed onto the US dollar. In recent years, the US dollar seem to be starting to lose its shine given the country is losing its stability and some US politician's allure to the MMT https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Monetary_Theory

As for the amount limit that's transferrable, this is only there to individuals to prevent capital flight (limited to $50,000 per annum), it's not limited to companies.

I remember the last time I tried to buy a flight ticket with Qatar Airways, one of the currencies they accepted was the yuan (kinda upset they didn't accept the sterling). This probably will challenge the US Dollar's role as the dominant currency, which is actually terrible for the US in its long term debt structuring.


$50k? Those were the days. It's not even $15k now, and it's much more strict in how it's added up.


$15k? How does the students pay their tuitions nowadays then?


You can transfer out more than that from your account, if you can show approved reasons. The $15k limit is on ATM cards+forex buys at the bank. There are also tons of grey ways to get cash out too, especially if you have a lot of money.

It's all just really shitty to have to deal with when it's your own money. So yeah, not looking to "invest" in China until they allow the money to come out no questions asked.


Well, there is no country that would ever allow money to move in or out "no questions asked". Why do you think there are a lot of terms like AML, or KYC floating about in the finance sector?

Also, international payments are a pain in the first place. I'm based in London currently contracting for a Singaporean firm, and they've still yet to be able to make the payment due to IBAN, SWIFT code issues. And you'd think that London and Singapore both being global financial centers, it would be easy right?

But yeah, I take your point its really bad having too much restrictions on moving money out of China, although I do think they are trying to change those policies.


it is still 50k.


> the pound was THE major global currency about 100 years ago

And before that, up until 200 years ago, it was the Spanish Dollar ("piece of eight"), which dominated South-American and Central-American trade and was informally accepted in Northern colonies too.


> This probably will challenge the US Dollar's role as the dominant currency, which is actually terrible for the US in its long term debt structuring.

Is there anything the US can do, or have we forever ceded the lead?


First thing, it will not happen overnight (if it ever happens at all). I mean, let's be honest, the US is still a massive market so there is no doubt that it still has a lot of tricks in its books to maintain a lead.

But the thing is, being the major dominant currency actually comes with drawbacks:

https://equitablegrowth.org/reserve-currency-privileges-cost...

So potentially, the US dollar losing its role as the dominant currency may actually come with benefits for everyday Americans.


That may sound like a good point, but for the average person in China, does it matter? The average person cares about being able to buy bread and eggs and having a stable currency with which to do that. It's the moneyed classes that care about being able to offshore their wealth.


Right, you just rephrased the question to 'for whom does it matter' but otherwise the original question remains unchanged


It’s not “moneyed classes”. Normal upper middleclass people will get screwed, while the corrupt rich will get around the law just fine.


Indeed the currency exchange limit has been going down. Banks use various excuses to forbid currency exchange, even before you hit the personal legal limit of US $50k.

A monetary policy maker at the central bank and a supporter capital controls was ironically denied to exchange USD $20k a year ago when trying to visit an overseas relative. The reason for denial was cited as being over 65 years old and not providing sufficient documents. He didn’t exceed the US $50k limit. [1]

Earlier last year, China made it illegal to transfer for a profit of RMB 100k or with amount exceeding RMB 5M. This was considered as a measure to curb currency exchange among overseas friends and relatives. [2]

Since two years ago, Chinese banks were required to report transfer of at least RMB 50k or US $10k. Seven banks were fined for not keeping track of such transfers. [3]

Also two years ago, bank card withdrawal limits outside of China was reduced to RMB 100k. [4]

With all these additional restrictions, the amount that one can exchange for is way less than US $50k per year (or about RMB 350k at current exchange rate).

Possibly related: The People’s Bank of China just announced that depositing or withdrawing RMB 100k or more will require registration. [5]

[1] https://money.163.com/19/0529/12/EGBJMPI4002580S6.html (in simplified Chinese)

[2] https://www.auliving.com.au/zh-tw/201902/116872.html (in traditional Chinese)

[3] http://finance.sina.com/bg/economy/economy_forex/sinacn/2018... (in simplified Chinese)

[4] https://www.hk01.com/%E8%B2%A1%E7%B6%93%E5%BF%AB%E8%A8%8A/14... (in traditional Chinese)

[5] https://www.msn.com/zh-tw/news/world/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B%E6%9... (in traditional Chinese)


In FX world any currency pair with yaun is not considered Major. It is not even deliverable out side of china. So not sure what is the meaning of stable here.


And moving yuan to digital is the biggest move against the dollar.

Instead of doing a lot of conversions, or using 3rd parties, Chinese industry will start to only receive yuan near in future because it is easier, faster and more secure to them.


Of course it is. The Chinese government guarantees it's value, keeps it stable vs. other currencies, and they're the second largest economy in the world (largest by some measures).


Well, sure, when you manipulate the forex market, you can act to alter the value of your own currency.


I sure wish we could do that (South Africa), instead our currency is at the whims of international finance and investors, which makes it highly unstable.

We could also use exchange controls to arrest our capital flight which is just draining us.


You do realise that even the concept of discussing the desire for capital controls are an exemplary reason to undertake capital fight?

The trajectory of the current South African de facto Kleptocratic ruling party should worry anyone.

One might argue the currency fluctuations are the result of endemic policy failure in every aspect of the South Africa governance. A result of a ransacked economy, stolen in the guise of altruism by a corrupt ruling cabal.

Closing the economy, removing the scrutiny of outside participants, will only seek to further assign it the moniker as yet another basket case economy


Exchange controls are a decent way to admit defeat and start rebuilding only if your economy can work without external investment, or is so attractive that foreign investors are willing to risk never getting their money back.

It worked in China only because the size of the country is such that it can basically do anything alone if it wants to, and the outlook was so "inevitably" good (again because of size) that investors were ready to risk it all.

Is SouthAfrica in that position? I doubt it. Imho a wave of capital restrictions in SA would trigger a Zimbabwe-like crisis, making it official that it's all gone to the dogs.


Exchange controls at some point will fail. See also what's happened to the Lebanese pound.


The Plaza Accord was instigated by the US. But that was the 1980s; these days, when a safe-haven country attempts to keep Francs from appreciating (which should be under our control) due to sabre-rattling by China and the US (not under our control), we get placed under the double secret probation.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-franc-climbs-after-us-add... (why is the US treasury telling us what to do? We've attempted to adjust against EUR, so if you all don't like USD/CHF why don't you all work the USD lever instead?)


But isn't majority of central banks have ability to control value of their currency using various means.


Is currency stability correlated with sustained international investment?

Belt and Road Initiative implies construction (labor/resource deployment) to solidify economic connections between regions/hemispheres where there are various career specializations and resource concentrations. "Currency" implies "current" (immediate) access to these things, therefore leverage to wield as enabled by inevitable research breakthroughs?



The shift towards stability coincided with the Yuan becoming a global reserve currency in 2016. Probably a pretty smart move if China wants to establish the Yuan as a global currency and start challenging the dollar, as the dependency on the American financial system is one of the biggest threats China faces. It also makes some sense given how quickly China is shifting from export orientation towards domestic consumption, in which case a stronger domestic currency is a pretty good idea.

Meanwhile in the US, oddly enough from both sides of the political spectrum you have people toying with the idea of devaluing the dollar (predominantly Warren on the left and Trump on the right), which would weaken the international position of the US and of course effectively make American consumers poorer.

Not unrelated China has also made the DCEP (sort of a digital RMB) a national priority, probably with the same goals in mind

https://www.ft.com/content/f10e94cc-4d74-11ea-95a0-43d18ec71...


> devaluing the dollar (predominantly Warren on the left and Trump on the right), which would weaken the international position of the US and of course effectively make American consumers poorer.

Devaluing the dollar makes exports more competitive (cheaper), which is appealing to leaders.

Also, it devalues China's US holdings, so bonus.

(The Chinese hate that the US can do that, and released a short film explaining how that works, and warning the USA not to do it. The film used to run on Chinese airlines. High-quality film.)


Part of the problem the USSR faced at implosion was that its major export, oil, was not only produced in increasing supply (by saudi) but was priced in a weakening currency (USD). If it turned out the US doesn't like countries like Iran or Venezuela, a weaker dollar would serve foreign policy.

Also, a weaker dollar would be better for young people in the US. Making exports expensive and imports cheap doesn't help an economy grow over the long run* (see JPY), it only benefits those who already have lots of USD. So depending upon the generational balance of power within the US, a weaker dollar might also serve domestic policy.

* for short term goals (like M&A of the DDR) a strong currency can be beneficial.


> Part of the problem the USSR faced at implosion was that its major export, oil

In 2019, 52% of Russia's exports were oil/fuel, and 96% for Venezuela.

Gotta wonder what their leaders do all day, besides crank the spigot.

The problem that the USA has with Iran is that they don't want a theocracy with a nuclear bomb, yet Iran ia a regional industrial power, unlike other Middle Eastern countries.

http://www.worldstopexports.com/russias-top-10-exports/

https://tradingeconomics.com/venezuela/exports


>The problem that the USA has with Iran is that they don't want a theocracy with a nuclear bomb

I don't think the fact that it's a theocracy plays any part in that or that it isn't democratic enough for that matter. The fact that it's a long standing enemy (admittedly partially of it's own making) and enemy to it's neighbouring allies tho....


> I don't think the fact that it's a theocracy plays any part in that

It's laughable to suggest religion plays no part in Middle East affairs. Funniest thing I've read all week, actually. :)


The Anglicans are a state-run church with the bomb, maybe they'd better watch out.


Britain is not run by clerics, so is not a theocracy. And they're not an enemy of the only superpower.


The CCP has done a fantastic job manipulating their currency to benefit China in the past few decades. Whether that will continue to benefit them over the longer term remains to be seen.


The Bank of China pegs the yuan to the US Dollar afaik...


That's pretty out of date information, a quick look on XE shows this is not the case at all:

https://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=USD&to=CNY&view=10Y


That graph doesn't tell the full story:

https://www.google.com/search?q=usd+to+yuan, click "Max"


Basket of currencies. Its a slightly managed float.


As of writing this comment all but one comment here is either a question answered by the article, or a statement superseded by the article with better information. Good job, guys.

> What does that really mean? Is it stable for those who hold it in China where the amount you can legally transfer overseas is limited and that limit has been both going down and much more effectively enforced in recent years?

Literally the entire point of the article is talking about this.

> Well, sure, when you manipulate the forex market, you can act to alter the value of your own currency.

That's not the only method described, though it's powerful. Article describes the rest - which are very interesting.

> The Bank of China pegs the yuan to the US Dollar afaik...

Better information in the article.

> The Yuan is pegged to the US Dollar

Better information in the article.


I frequently go straight to HN comments instead of the article itself because the article might be exaggerating a point to attract more clicks, whereas the discussion is typically a bit broader. That people don't keep it DRY is a feature to me, not a bug.


The problem with this approach is that you are limiting yourself to the narrative of a hive-mind. Although HN has done a better job of it then Reddit but it still exhibits the same problems a lot of time.


Possibly, but in true Dunning/Kruger fashion, I believe that I am immune to that. And I have proof: I like Electron :-D


Not really. Also it goes faster.


Same.


> As of writing this comment all but one comment here is either a question answered by the article, or a statement superseded by the article with better information. Good job, guys.

The posted article is behind a paywall. What did you expect?


That people would suppress the impulse to write a toppevel comment based only on the headline?

The downside is that longer articles may be penalised because of people taking more time to read them before voting/commenting.


The guys happily offering wrong information are corrected by the portion of the text visible before the paywall.


ironically, you answering our questions doesnt make us more likely to read the article


Thank God you're here to save the day!


There’s a paywall


Blocking javascript prevents the bottom half of the article from being hidden. Ublock origin lets you disable JS on a per-site basis, if you're using that as your adblocker.


Indeed, but the wrong information offered gladly was contradicted by the truth in the portion of the article not hidden by the paywall.




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