IMF Hints Chinese Yuan To Join Reserve Currency Basket

Chinese Yuan

It looks like China is going to get its long-held wish for the the yuan to become a part of the IMF’s reserve currency basket. According to multiple Chinese officials who spoke to Bloomberg on Tuesday, International Monetary Fund representatives have told the leadership of China that the yuan is almost certain to join the fund’s basket of reserve currencies in the near future.

The Bloomberg sources note that the IMF has dropped strong hints in meetings that the yuan will win inclusion in the basket during the current review. The sources pointed out that officials were so sure the Chinese yuan was in that they have started to prepare statements to celebrate the event.

More on Chinese yuan inclusion in IMF currency basket

The IMF is currently undertaking a review the composition of the basket, with staff members due to present their recommendation to the fund’s executive board for a vote possibly as soon as next month. Of note, this review process is only scheduled once every five years. The board decoded to not include the yuan after the last review in 2010, saying that the yuan didn’t not qualify on the criteria of “freely usable.”

The Chinese yuan becoming a part of the IMF currency basket would be a major validation of Chinese President Xi Jinping push to make the world’s second-biggest economy more market oriented, and would also give China’s prestige a major boost as it prepares to host the Group of 20 meetings in 2016. Analysts at Standard Chartered Plc and AXA Investment Managers calculate that close to $1 trillion of global reserves will rapidly convert to Chinese assets if the yuan joins the IMF’s reserve basket.

“Prospects for approval seem to be favorable,” commented Otaviano Canuto, executive director at the IMF for 11 countries. The story “is going in the direction of the renminbi becoming a necessary component of the SDR,” he said, referring to the Chinese yuan’s other name.

The People’s Bank of China’s moves this summer towards a market-determined exchange rate was a “positive signal,” as was the recent sale of Chinese yuan-denominated bonds, Canuto explained in a recent interview.

Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone at this point, as the the executive board must still consider the final report on the review by IMF staff.

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