Yu Yongding: China can break free of the dollar trap

Section:

By Yu Yongding
Financial Times, London
Thursday, August 4, 2011

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2189faa2-bec6-11e0-a36b-00144feabdc0.html...

Chinese officials are understandably angry about the irresponsible brinkmanship demonstrated by their American counterparts in recent weeks. Unfortunately, anger counts for little in international finance. The danger facing the United States is that after Tuesday's debt deal any sense of urgency over a dire fiscal situation will dissipate. The danger for China is that it does not learn the right lesson -- namely, that now is the time to end its dependency on the US dollar.

China is worried about the possibility of a US default for obvious reasons. As the largest foreign holder of US Treasuries, either a default or a downgrade would bring huge losses. Even after this week's debt deal, however, the risk remains that US debt will continue to grow to the point where its government is left with no option but to inflate the burden away. While there is little China can do about its existing Treasury holdings, it can rethink past policies -- and ask both how it fell into this trap, and how it might free itself.

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Prophecy Platinum Reports 10.97 Million Ounces Inferred
and 1.04 Million Ounces Indicated PGM+Gold in Yukon

An independent resource report on the Wellgreen project in the Yukon Territory in Canada has just confirmed that it as one of the largest platinum group metals projects in Canada and one of the few outside South Africa, Prophecy Platinum Corp. Chairman John Lee says.

The report, compliant with Canadian National Instrument 43-101, was written by geologist Todd McCracken of Wardrop Engineering Inc., a Tetra Tech company. It incorporated drill data from 701 diamond drill holes (182 surface and 519 underground) totaling more than 53,222 metres. Using a 0.4 percent nickel equivalent cutoff grade, the Wellgreen deposit now contains a total inferred resource of 289.2 million tonnes at an average grade of 0.53 g/t platinum, 0.42 g/t palladium, 0.23 g/t gold (1.18 g/t PGM and gold), 0.38 percent nickel, and 0.35 percent copper. Separately, the deposit also contains an indicated resource of 14.3 million tonnes at an average grade of 0.99 g/t platinum, 0.74 g/t palladium, 0.52 g/t gold (2.25 g/t PGM and gold), 0.69 percent nickel, and 0.69 percent copper.

Prophecy Platinum Corp. trades on the Toronto Venture Exchange under the symbol NKL, on the pink sheets in the United States as PNIKD, and in Frankfurt as P94P.

For the complete press release on the Wellgreen report, please visit:

http://prophecyplat.com/news_2011_july14_prophecy_platinum_new_resource_...



China has run a current account surplus and a capital account surplus almost uninterruptedly for more than two decades. Inevitably this has led to an accumulation of foreign reserves. It is clear, however, that running these surpluses persistently is not in China's best interests. A developing country, with per-capita income ranking below the 100th in the world, lending to the world’s richest country for decades is not reasonable. Even worse is the fact that, as one of the largest foreign direct investment-absorbing countries in the world, China essentially lends money it borrowed at a high cost back to its creditors, by buying US Treasuries, rather than importing goods and services.

China holds a large stash of dollar-denominated foreign assets, as well as significant amounts of renminbi-denominated liabilities. Clearly this currency structure of assets and liabilities makes its net international investment position very vulnerable to any devaluation of the dollar against the renminbi.

The Chinese government has admitted that its foreign-exchange reserves have already exceeded its needs. It has tried various measures to slow down the growth of these reserves and protect the value of its existing stock. This has included demand stimulation, allowing the renminbi to appreciate gradually and creating sovereign wealth funds. It has also promoted reform of international monetary systems and the internationalisation of the renminbi. Sadly, none of these has worked. With large capital inflows and a current account surplus, China's foreign exchange reserves have continued to rise rapidly.

These policies failed because they did not address the real cause of the rapid increase in foreign exchange stocks, namely state intervention aimed at controlling the pace of renminbi appreciation. The question is: what losses is China willing to bear in its foreign exchange reserves in order to slow the pace of the renminbi appreciation?

One further factor is that any losses in the financial assets held by China will not be realised until their holders decide to cash out. If the US government continues to pay back its public debt, and China continues to pack its savings into US securities, this game may continue for a very long time. However, the situation is ultimately unsustainable. The longer it continues, the more violent and destructive the final adjustment will be.

If there is any lesson China can draw from the US debt ceiling crisis, it is that it must stop policies that result in further accumulation of foreign exchange reserves. Given that many large developed countries are simply printing money (and the recent rumours are that the US might return to quantitative easing) China must realise that it can no longer invest in the paper assets of the developed world. The People's Bank of China must stop buying US dollars and allow the renminbi exchange rate to be decided by market forces as soon as possible. China should have done so a long time ago. There should be no more hesitating and dithering. To float the renminbi is not costless. However, its benefits for the Chinese economy will vastly offset those costs, while being favourable to the global economy as well.

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The writer is a former member of the monetary policy committee of the Chinese central bank.

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Golden Phoenix Q2 2011 Conference Call Posted at Company Internet Site

The second quarter 2011 conference call of Golden Phoenix Minerals Inc. (GPXM) has been posted at the company Internet site for immediate playback. The call includes updates on the start of gold production at the company's Mineral Ridge gold project in Nevada, the letter of intent to acquire the Santa Rosa gold mine in Panama, and the company's due-diligence efforts to secure a senior stock exchange listing.

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