USD is dead: China caps its dollar holdings & plans crude oil futures priced in yuan

Dollar and Euro banknotes

China’s central bank has said it no longer sees any benefit in increasing its $3.66 trillion foreign currency reserves – already the world’s largest. China will cap its purchases of US dollars in an effort to limit the depreciation of the yuan.

“It’s no longer in China’s favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves,” Bloomberg quoted Yi Gang, a deputy governor at the central bank as saying Tuesday.

Decreasing the influence of the dollar and other currencies is a step closer to reaching China’s 2015 goal to “float” its currency and according to the People’s Bank of China will help the everyday Chinese citizen.

Between July and September 2013 China’s increased its foreign – currency holdings by $166 billion, boosting it to the world’s highest of $3.66 trillion. This is also more that the Gross domestic product of Germany – the Europe’s biggest economy, Bloomberg reports.

This will “basically” end the interference of foreign currency in the Chinese market, and widen the yuan’s daily trading range.

The move also provides a buffer to China from future US Federal Reserve stimulus tapering, which, even just as it looms, has had severe ripple effects on emerging market currencies in Brazil and India.

Tuesday minutes from the Fed’s policy meeting said it could start tapering its monthly $85 billion bonds purchases in the “coming months”, if the job market improves further. Fed members also weighed the possibility of slowing the purchases even without clear evidence of a strengthening job market. The news sent Asian stocks lower on Thursday, Japan an exception.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.7 percent to 23,539.83 and China’s Shanghai Composite decreased 1.1 percent to 2,183.50.

Once the yuan is set to free float, international transactions will be carried out in the Chinese currency, and it will become common in global trade, in league with the euro and dollar.

The Chinese yuan currently is the 13th most-used currency in the world for international payments.

The yuan has been dubbed a “hermit currency”, isolating itself from foreign investment and setting its own rules, but is now slowly entering world currency markets.

China’s planned crude oil futures may be priced in yuan – SHFE

The Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) may price its crude oil futures contract in yuan and use medium sour crude as its benchmark, its chairman said on Thursday, adding that the bourse is speeding up preparatory work to secure regulatory approvals.

China, which overtook the United States as the world’s top oil importer in September, hopes the contract will become a benchmark in Asia and has said it would allow foreign investors to trade in the contract without setting up a local subsidiary.

“China is the only country in the world that is a major crude producer, consumer and a big importer. It has all the necessary conditions to establish a successful crude oil futures contract,” Yang Maijun, SHFE chairman, said at an industry conference.

SHFE Shanghai Futures Exchange

Yang’s presentation slides at the conference stated that the draft proposal is for the contract to be denominated in yuan and use the type of medium sour crude that China most commonly imports.

Industry participants with direct knowledge of the plan have said the contract would be priced in the yuan, otherwise known as the renminbi, and the U.S. dollar. Yang would not say whether yuan pricing was only for Chinese investors.

“The yuan has become more international and more recognised by the financial market,” Chen Bo, Chinese trading firm Unipec’s executive general manager, told Reuters.

“I don’t think it would be unacceptable for the world to use the renminbi for commodities trading.”

The contract pricing will exclude custom tariffs and value-added tax and allow for physical delivery in bonded storage areas, Yang said.

The SHFE is awaiting Beijing’s final approval to launch the contract. That may come soon as the bourse has set up an international energy trading platform in the Shanghai free-trade zone, which is touted as a testing ground for China’s financial reforms, especially on yuan convertability and interest rates.

The SHFE has previously said the contract has support from China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

A successful launch could pave the way for the opening of other Chinese commodities futures to more foreign investment.

SEE ALSO:
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Sources: http://rt.com/business/foreign-currency-china-reserves-075/
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/21/china-crudeoil-idUSL4N0J62M120131121