Chinese push back on currency pressure (+ analysis); Thai protesters denounce PM; French left wing deals blow to Sarkozy; US government takes on Wall St and Republicans with new bill (+ details)
Top of the Agenda: China Rebuffs International Currency Pressure
Speaking at a meeting of the Chinese legislature, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warned other countries (FT) against pressuring China about its currency policy and said the renminbi (or yuan) was not undervalued. Wen said China would continue reforming its currency system but that he was very concerned about the value of its US dollar investments. He said the idea of depreciating one's own currency and pressuring others to appreciate theirs to increase exports was its own form of protectionism. International pressure is mounting for China to let the value of the renminbi rise, especially in the United States, where the Treasury department must decide by mid-April whether to label China a "currency manipulator."
China is using inconsistencies in the World Trade Organization's and International Monetary Fund's trade rules to boost its economy at the expense of other countries, the New York Times reports. Over the past year, China has filed more cases with the WTO than any other country. It has also worked to suppress IMF reports that document its currency undervaluation.
In the Financial Times, Antje Praefcke says markets are overestimating the impact of an appreciation of the renminbi against the US dollar.
In the New York Times, Paul Krugman says China is engineering an unwarranted trade surplus that acts as an anti-stimulus on other economies. The US Treasury should identify China as a currency manipulator, he says.
This CFR Backgrounder examines the China-US economic imbalance.
PACIFIC RIM: Thai Protesters Denounce Prime Minister
Roughly one hundred thousand Thai protesters gathered to denounce (Economist) their prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, and the ruling elite that installed him. They called for Abhisit's resignation and fresh elections.