Friday, October 31, 2014

China steadily Plugs Away in Effort to Increase Global Influence

China is known for having a lot of patience and moving forward in a slow but steady way. It seems they will continue that approach in working towards gaining more influence globally. The BRICS bank is one way to gain influence, but is moving at a controlled pace. Establishing the Yuan as a global currency is another way to gain influence, but that is also moving along at a slow and steady pace.

Below are a couple of BRICSPOST articles that update us on both these fronts. Slowly but surely China is moving towards becoming the primary alternative to the US in the global economy. 

China allows direct trading between the Yuan and Singapore dollar

As this article notes, this is just another step similar to what China has already been doing in establishing the Yuan as direct trade currency with other nations. In each case the US dollar is being bypassed for use in trade. It does not however setup the Yuan as an alternative reserve currency. It appears to still be early in the game for that. That could be a process that takes a few years to unfold. Steps are being taken in that direction, but not at a rapid pace.

China led new Bank challenges Japanese, US Influence

This article starts out by trying to present this new bank as a direct challenge and threat to the IMF and the World Bank. It notes the frustration of the BRICS nations with stalled IMF reforms and implies this is their response to the situation. However, as you read through the article, it becomes clear that the bank will start out in 2015 with relatively small capital. By the end of the article, it is talking about how this bank will just be a challenge to the World Bank to perform better. Certainly there is no indication that replacing the IMF or the World Bank is even on the radar. Also, China is struggling to get other major nations to become members of the bank.

Having followed this now for some time, I think we are seeing a trend emerge here. While every now and then, there are threats and tough talk that if IMF reforms are not passed the BRICS nations will pull out and go their own way, the reality is that they never get serious about following through on that. They admit that in reality they are still years away from being in a position to seriously challenge the existing global financial structure. They set deadlines, but when those deadlines pass they just extend the deadlines and talk about how they hope the reforms will pass someday. They don't seem in any hurry to force things.

At this point it does not seem like they really are interested in breaking away from the IMF and World Bank, even if the reforms don't pass any time soon. They seem content to just start the process of setting up alternatives and then slowly and surely move forward over time. The whole process looks more like a 5-10 year or more project as things stand today.

If the Republicans do gain control of both the US House and Senate, passage of IMF reforms will probably be a very low priority or completely off the table for two more years. Supposedly there is another "deadline" of year end 2014 from the BRICS nations for the reforms to pass. But it doesn't look like anything significant will happen if the deadline passes yet again. Expect the deadline to just get moved again.

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