Are Hedge Funds Boosting Chinese Reserves?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 3/13/2008 06:20:00 PM
Our favorite official publication, the China Daily, now has another tack in explaining the reason for the country's rising holdings of foreign exchange, especially those godforsaken dollars (in which we do not trust). Estimates place February's reserve rise at an astonishing $61.6B. I must say that the new antagonist isn't new: those vile foreign investors and their speculative funds. Trying to work around capital controls, they're out to make a profit from the rising yuan as the hapless dollar plunges to new depths on a nearly daily basis:

Foreign investments and international hedge funds, some of which are speculative hot money, are now elbowing into the China market. They're lured by the Chinese people's emerging consumption power, and expectations of the Chinese yuan appreciating higher. The Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday that China drew $18.13 billion in overseas investments in January and February, shooting 75.2 percent year-on-year.

Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming, who was promoted to the post late last year, said at a news conference in Beijing that the reason for the big increase of overseas capital in the first two months was due to the big increase in large-scale investing projects and a stronger yuan.

Chen's ministry, which oversees foreign trade and domestic consumption, said that during the first two months, investments from the European Union countries rose a whopping 109 percent, while investments from the United States increased 44 percent.

Wild expectations abroad that the yuan will continue to rise in value against major world currencies has led to money coming to China.

"When you bring US dollars to invest in China, you need to change it into the yuan. Naturally you would like your funds to enter China at an earlier date. Because, if you are late, the same amount of dollars will turn out to be less yuan bills," Chen told reporters.

China's foreign exchange administration, under the auspices of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said in its latest report that the country's total foreign exchange reserve has reached nearly $1.59 trillion by the end of January, the world's largest.

China's currency, also called the renminbi, has been constantly rising in value. The People's Bank of China, set the medium parity trading price at 7.0970 against one US dollar on Thursday, a new record high. The yuan has gained 3 percent against the dollar in value since the beginning of 2008.