Tuesday, November 10, 2015

South China Morning Post on Yuan Inclusion in the SDR Basket

This is becoming almost a global drama as the world is now seemingly on "yuan watch". The IMF is adding to the intrigue by not yet confirming what day in November they will meet to decide on this issue. Earlier reports said it was to be November 4th. Then a report said the date was moved to November 30th. The IMF denied that report and said no date has been set yet. Now this new article in the South China Morning Post questions whether they will meet in November at all. Below are some quotes.

"While some of the world’s biggest banks and fund managers believe the renminbi is almost a shoe in to get into the International Monetary Fund’s elite currency basket this year, Beijing doesn’t seem to feel that inclusion is in the bag.
In the detailed 13th five-year plan released this week after the ruling Communist Party plenum, a brief line caught the attention of Raymond Yeung, senior economist at ANZ.
In the all-encompassing blueprint spanning the next five years, “pushing for the renminbi to join the Special Drawing Rights” has been engraved. Such a goal was not carved into the 12th five-year plan.
“This shows that not even at the top government level is there firm confidence for an inclusion at the review this month. Otherwise, why would they list it as a working item for the next five years?” Yeung said.
The government confession of doubt, albeit crafted in a nuanced manner, stands in stark contrast with the widespread sanguine attitude of the market.
Some of the world’s biggest banks and money managers have upped the decibel level in championing the renminbi’s bid for SDR membership, asynthetic quasi-currency used as the IMF’s account unit and rarely seen in financial transactions."
. . . . . 
"Amid the market chorus, the IMF has yet to reveal the date on which its executive board will meet and review the basket’s composition, which happens once every five years.
On Wednesday, a report by the mainland’s China Business News said the IMF had delayed the date of the review from November 4th to the 30th. The report prompted the IMF to rebut and reiterated the November time frame to discuss the issue.
“The exact board meeting date will be communicated once it has been set,” the IMF said.
“The IMF has already delayed it once. I wouldn’t be surprised if the day of November 30th slipped through without a decision being announced,” said Yeung."
My added comments: This is becoming a bit of a strange situation as most everyone has assumed that inclusion of the yuan is a done deal to be announced this month (November) by the IMF. That is still the overwhelming view, but it does seem odd that no date has been set by the IMF for this a third of the way into the month of November. 
While we can still assume this is on track as most expect, you can see the Chinese attitude towards the IMF here is one of not being willing to assume anything. After waiting years for promised governance reforms that have never happened, you can't blame officials for doubting whether they can believe the IMF will act in the time frame they have previously announced. 

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