Andy Xie: Raise Rates, then the Yuan

Get the Yuan Right, Prove Pundits Wrong
But acting on the currency first, especially in small steps, would further inflate China's property bubble and inflation, potentially leading to a major economic crisis in two years. A small increase in the yuan's value would fail to resolve two pressing problems: inflationary pressure at home, and political pressure from the United States. Moreover, a small appreciation would attract hot money, stoking inflationary pressure.

Imported goods' share of consumption is too small in China for a small currency appreciation to affect the consumer price index. At the same time, a minor appreciation would fail to placate U.S. interest groups, some of whom are demanding a rise in yuan value of one-third or more. Some argue it should double in value.

Indeed, a slight appreciation would merely exacerbate existing problems by emboldening U.S. supporters of a stronger yuan to demand even greater appreciation.
Meanwhile, financial markets are back on the yuan appreciation watch. Inflation pressure at home and political pressure from the United States have inflamed expectations. Every week or two, the media reports that some notable person has predicted an imminent yuan appreciation of 5 percent or so. So much ink has been spilled on this issue that the consensus on yuan appreciation has become the longest lasting and most widely accepted consensus in financial history. It's lasted for so long because financial markets have few stories to stir fry, and an appreciation of a pegged currency is a free lunch. Nothing gets financial markets more excited than a free lunch.

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