On the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to China, a major Chinese official has criticized U.S. monetary policy in unusually harsh language. Liu Mingkang, China Banking Regulatory Commission chairman said the zero interest rate policy of the U.S. Federal Reserve posed a “new systemic risk.”
Liu, using language reminiscent of warnings by NYU economist Nouriel Roubini and speaking at a financial forum in China’s capital Beijing, said:
This situation has already encouraged a huge dollar carry trade and had a massive impact on global asset prices… It is boosting speculative investment in stock and property markets and will pose new, insurmountable risks to the global recovery and, particularly, to the recovery in emerging markets.
In my view, this is pure political posturing by the Chinese in order to defuse any U.S. criticisms of Beijing’s currency peg. Call it a pre-emptive strike. The U.S. has seen the unemployment rate rise to 10.2% and the trade deficit rise quite dramatically as well. Many are blaming the Chinese and their currency peg to the U.S. dollar.
The Chinese expect Barack Obama to deliver a message that his administration will find it increasingly difficult to hold protectionist pressures at bay given the Yuan’s firm peg to the U.S. dollar even while the dollar has plummeted. To prevent the U.S. from successfully painting the Chinese peg as the sole major risk to the global economic recovery, the Chinese must therefore point to the destabilizing measures taken by the U.S. to reflate its domestic economy.
All indications suggest that we are now returning to the same unbalanced pre-crisis growth model – but with the global economy in a considerably more fragile state. In this climate, the issues of the Yuan currency peg and low interest rates in the U.S. will continue to be front and center going forward.
Originally published at Credit Writedowns and reproduced here with the author’s permission.