As previously discussed, changing reserve ratios and the like does nothing more than raise the cost of funds to the banks, much like a ‘normal’ rate hike.
And, also as previously discussed, higher rates more often than not add to inflationary pressures, rather than subtract from them.
Ultimately, it is the fiscal adjustments that bite, including reduced deficit spending (both proactive and, more common, via automatic stabilizers, particularly increased tax receipts due to nominal growth) and reduced state lending, all of which is in progress. Reductions in state lending are also, functionally, best considered ‘fiscal’ measures.
This all typically results in a very hard landing.
April 17 (Bloomberg) — China increased banks’ reserve requirements to lock up cash and cool inflation, and central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said monetary tightening will continue for “some time.”
Reserve ratios will rise a half point from April 21, the People’s Bank of China said on its website yesterday, pushing the requirement to a record 20.5 percent for the biggest lenders. The move came less than two weeks after an interest-rate increase. Zhou sees no “absolute” limit on how high reserve requirements can go, he said April 16.
The nation’s fifth interest-rate increase since the financial crisis may come as soon as next month after inflation accelerated in March to the fastest pace since 2008, Societe Generale SA said. Chinese policy makers may also consider allowing faster appreciation in the yuan, described by the U.S. as “substantially” undervalued, to reduce the cost of imported commodities such as oil.
Higher reserve requirements “will help tighten monetary conditions and prevent banks from lending aggressively in the coming month,” said Liu Li-Gang, an Australia & New Zealand Banking Group economist in Hong Kong who formerly worked for the World Bank. Policy makers may also increasingly rely on the yuan to contain “imported inflation,” Liu added.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 percent as of 11:09 a.m. local time. Non-deliverable yuan forwards were little changed, indicating expectations for the currency to rise about 2.3 percent in the next 12 months from 6.5293 per dollar.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner says a stronger Chinese currency would both counter inflation within the Asian nation and aid efforts to reduce economic imbalances that contributed to the global financial crisis.
The yuan has gained about 4.5 percent against the dollar since June last year, when China scrapped a crisis policy of keeping the currency unchanged against the greenback. Analysts’ median forecast is for the currency to climb to 6.3 per dollar by year end.
Speaking in Washington yesterday, PBOC Deputy Governor Yi Gang said the yuan is close to being freely usable, which would allow it to be included in the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights basket. He said April 15 that a gradual appreciation of the currency would help his country overcome inflation.