- Have Chinese State Banks Quietly Bought $180 Billion In Gold?
by Ye Xie, Bloomberg Live commentator and author, via https://www.zerohedge.com/
Three things we learned last week:
1. U.S. Treasury scrutinizes Chinese state banks for possible hidden currency intervention
While Janet Yellen’s Treasury Department refrained from labeling China as a currency manipulator in its semi-annual currency report, it again zeroed in on the role of Chinese state banks in the foreign-exchange market. It noted that China’s net foreign exchange settlement, which it considers a more comprehensive proxy for intervention because it includes the activities of China’s state-owned banks, surged to about $180 billion last year. But the PBOC’s foreign exchange assets, which historically track the settlement data, stayed flat.
The Treasury cautioned that it’s not clear what’s driving the unusual divergence between the two data sets, which used to provide roughly similar estimates of the direction and size of China’s currency intervention. While acknowledging that the difference could be due to commercial reasons, it’s also possible that these banks intervened on behalf of the PBOC to cover the central bank’s tracks, the Treasury said (ZH: or, it is the case that China has been stealthily accumulating some $180 billion in gold, as discussed last Friday in “Beijing Greenlights Purchases Of Billions In Bullion“).
“Overall, this development highlights the need for China to improve transparency regarding its foreign exchange intervention activities,” the Treasury Department wrote in a report released Friday. “Compared to other major economies, especially in Asia, China is increasingly an outlier with respect to its non-disclosure of foreign exchange market intervention.”
The Treasury raised similar concerns in its previous report. This won’t be the last time we hear about the issue.