China wants to import more to solve its trade imbalances instead of parking windfall revenues in U.S. and euro zone government bonds, the chairman of China's largest lender said on Thursday.
Jiang Jianqing, head of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, dismissed suggestions that China's economic success was down to undervalued exchange rates, adding that the dollar-dominant monetary system must change.
We have a very large manufacturing industry in China. We obtained a lot of foreign currencies. China has returned these assets to the euro and U.S. markets by buying a lot of bonds. (But) China is unwilling to do so, Jiang said, speaking through a translator.
But in the world menu, there are few goods to be purchased. We want to import but some countries don't sell (goods) to us. We're obliged to spend the money (in) U.S. bonds, etc. China also wants to change this kind of situation. We should import to balance our trade and increase our foreign investments.
China is one of the biggest buyers of U.S. Treasuries as it recycles its huge trade surplus -- a source of U.S.-China economic tensions as Washington blames Beijing for keeping its yuan currency artificially weak.
Jiang said China's economic growth was not down to the yuan's exchange rate and the imbalance problem stemmed more from the dollar's dominant position in the global economy.
At present, the monetary system is based on the U.S. dollar. The future monetary system reform will need a supra-sovereign currency, Jiang said.
The dollar-based monetary system will change. Emerging markets, based on purchasing power in terms of GDP, account for 47 percent of the world. But in the current monetary system we have very few rights.
At their meeting in October, G20 finance ministers conceded the quickening shift in economic power away from Western industrial nations by striking a surprise deal to give emerging nations a bigger voice in the IMF.
Billionaire financier George Soros said China had made a mistake by not allowing the yuan to appreciate.
The Chinese government has made a serious mistake in not allowing its currency to appreciate and using that as one of the tools to keep inflation under control. Right now there are some signs inflation in China is getting out of hand, he said.
Soros added the inclusion of the yuan in the SDR will help open capital markets in China.