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August 15, 2015 | Currency Pegs & Their Risks

Martin Armstrong

Martin Arthur Armstrong is the former chairman of Princeton Economics International Ltd. He is best known for his economic predictions based on the Economic Confidence Model, which he developed.


The devaluation of the Chinese renminbi (Yuan) raises serious implications both economically and politically. The mere fact that a peg exists allows for political criticism as if this were some currency war. First, China acted with devaluing the renminbi for its economy to remain on an even keel, trying to keep growth and employment high. Secondly, China acted to help make its currency a pre-eminent global currency which helps promote the country’s diplomatic goals and solidify the country’s centrality to the global economy. However, these two goals can also emerge in conflict with one another.

Currency pegs are dangerous for they can produce the wrong political implications. A 5% swing in currency value is no big deal in the markets as with dollar/euro. However, simply because China has a managed float (peg) they run the risk of being accused of creating a currency war with just a 2% adjustment.  Pegs can over-shoot as well as under-shoot and either can be economically disruptive. We saw what happened to the Swiss Peg and then there were the pegs in Southeast Asia that facilitated the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997. In both cases, the governments lost a fortune because pegs provide a stop-loos to foreign capital.

China should move to a full float now for the high in the renminbi (Yuan) took place with a 19 year decline in the dollar forming the 2013 low. The majority seem to have been surprised by the dollar rally (devaluation) only because they seemed to have overlooked the fact that the low was clearly made in 2013 and an uptrend was already in motion.

China is being blamed wrongly for a devaluation when in fact the trend was already in motion in the market and the economy. Floating the renminbi now will eliminate the blame that the trend is being manufactured by China when in fact this is a dollar bull market unfolding globally.

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August 15th, 2015

Posted In: Armstrong Economics

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