China’s Warnings Come In Thick And Fast To Curb Inflation, Yuan

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China has dialed up its rhetoric about surging commodity prices and a strong currency with almost daily commentary by officials and in state media in the past two weeks, a sign authorities are becoming more uncomfortable with recent gains.

The government is taking targeted steps to curb commodity prices, though it expects the overall impact on inflation to be controllable. On the yuan, which climbed to multi-year highs this week, the central bank warned against one-way bets on the currency.

Here’s a look at some of the key comments on inflation and the yuan in recent weeks.

May 27: People’s Bank of China

“The RMB can appreciate or depreciate. No one can accurately predict the exchange rate. No matter if it’s in the short term or mid-long term, it’s certain that predictions of the exchange rate won’t be accurate.”

“No matter if it’s the government, institutions, or individuals, all should avoid being misled by predictions.”

“China should stick to a managed floating exchange rate system based on market supply and demand and adjusted with reference to a basket of currencies in the long term.”

— after a meeting between PBOC, State Administration of Foreign Exchange and participants in the foreign exchange market

May 23: Liu Guoqiang, vice governor of the PBOC

“At present, China’s foreign exchange market is autonomously balanced, the RMB exchange rate is determined by the market, and the exchange rate is expected to be stable. The future trend of the RMB exchange rate will continue to depend on market supply and demand and changes in the international financial market, and two-way fluctuations will become the norm.”

“The People’s Bank of China will place emphasis on expectation guidance, let the exchange rate play an automatic stabilizer role in adjusting the macro-economy and the balance of payments, and maintain the basic stability of the RMB exchange rate at a reasonable and balanced level.”

— Q&A published on PBOC website

May 21: Financial Stability and Development Committee

“It is necessary to strictly guard against external risk shocks, effectively respond to imported inflation, strengthen expectation management, strengthen market supervision, and make response plans and have policy reserves.”

— meeting chaired by Vice Premier Liu He

May 19: State Council

“We must attach great importance to the adverse effects of rising prices of commodities.”

“(We should) ensure the supply of commodities, curb unreasonable increases in their prices, and work hard to prevent it from being passed on to consumer prices.”

— at a regular meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang

May 18: Jin Xiandong, a spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission

“The impact of rising commodity prices on China has two sides. On the one hand, it is conducive to improving the profitability of upstream raw material companies and reducing debt risks. On the other hand, it will also increase the operating costs of mid- and downstream manufacturing and affect the profits of the industries.”

“The rise in PPI will likely further widen in coming months and the growth of PPI in the second quarter might continue to go higher.”

“It is expected that the full-year PPI will be low at the beginning and the end of the year, but high in the middle of the year. Year-on-Year growth will fall somewhat in the second half of the year.”

— at monthly press conference

May 17: Fu Linghui, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics

“Regarding CPI, especially the impact on the overall price situation, it should be said that there are conditions for prices to remain stable throughout the year.”

“From the perspective of the PPI pass-through to consumer prices, there will certainly be a pass-through effect from PPI to CPI. But overall, the pass-through effect from upstream to downstream is gradually decreasing because China’s industrial sectors are relatively complete and the industrial chain is relatively long. Judging from the situation in recent years, especially since 2016, the pass-through of PPI to CPI is not so obvious on the whole.”

— at press briefing after release of economic data

May 11: PBOC

“As a large economy, the increase in international commodity prices is not, on its own, likely to trigger any obvious imported inflation in China as long as it is not accompanied by overheating domestic demand.”

“The rise in global commodity prices may boost China’s PPI in stages, but the risk of imported inflation is generally controllable.”

– Bloomberg

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