Category Archives: China

Three interesting facts about Chinese monetary history

Former IMF Chief Economist Eswar Prasad’s excellent book Gaining Currency – The Rise of The Renminbi starts with a fascinating chapter on China’s monetary history, the longest by far of any country. The book is ultimately a persuasive answer to the question, will the RMB become a leading international currency? His answer is yes, but only… Continue Reading

Letter from Guangxi

The second week of my recent China trip was spent in the hot, green and rapidly developing southern province of Guangxi. * My trips to China are usually to the Tier 1 cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and more rarely to Guangzhou. In these places you see the full achievement of the country’s remarkable economic development.… Continue Reading

Some modestly good news in the energy world

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy was published last week. It contains two pieces of particularly encouraging information. First. in 2015 coal demand fell sharply. Second, carbon emissions from energy rose at the slowest rate for 25 years (other than the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis). The report is summarised by BP’s group chief… Continue Reading

Why Hinkley Point C is in trouble

The world’s most expensive power station project, a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C in the UK, still hasn’t reached financial close, despite backing from the UK, French and Chinese governments. It might be best for the UK if it never does. The full story is told in my new book The Fall and… Continue Reading

Markets versus economics

The turbulent financial markets in early 2016 can be seen as a battle between two groups of ideas – the economists see little reason for sudden concern but the markets are worried about hidden risks * Global stock markets performed worse in the first few weeks of 2016 than in living memory. Since markets are supposed… Continue Reading

The IMF includes the RMB in the SDR basket

On 30 November 2015 the IMF voted to include the RMB (the Chinese “people’s currency” denominated in yuan) in the basket of currencies it uses to calculate the value of the Special Drawing Rights, from October 2016. This is largely symbolic but should encourage further international financial reform in China. * What does it actually… Continue Reading

Global foreign reserves are now falling

The foreign exchange reserves held by governments, having risen for over a decade, have recently fallen. This is mainly because they are being used, as intended, to protect against turbulence in financial markets that would otherwise hurt the developing economies. * Foreign reserves are assets held by governments as a safety net against abrupt changes… Continue Reading