Not exactly my most eloquent post title, but really, did anyone out there actually notice that once again, the U.S. Treasury Department decided that China shouldn’t be on the list of currency manipulators? Yes, the wire services ran little blurbs, as did the major papers that have good China coverage. But they were just going through the motions. The only folks who care anymore these days are paid lobbyists and paid politicians, and who gives a shit what they think, anyway?
Even Xinhua was kind of listless in its coverage this time around. Just the facts, for the most part:
In the latest Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, US Treasury highlighted the need for greater exchange rate flexibility and transparency, most notably by China, but also by other major economies.
“China’s current account surplus has declined from a peak of 10. 1 percent of GDP in 2007 to 1.9 percent of GDP in 2011 and 2.3 percent in 2012. China has taken a series of steps to liberalize controls on capital movements, as part of a broader plan to move to a more flexible exchange rate regime,” the Treasury said, adding that in light of these developments, it concluded that China did not meet the standards of a currency manipulator.
Fairly boring stuff, with the exception of the last two paragraphs of the Xinhua piece, which note that the US Treasury also has its eye on Japan. From the viewpoint of your average Xinhua editor, this is all good news.
But let’s face it, this issue of China currency manipulation is about as lifeless as my Friendster account. I couldn’t even find the usual outrage-laden Op/Ed on The Huffington Post written by Worthington J. Rentseeker of the United Workers of Dead Industries Union, or NAMBLA.
So why, pray tell, did the Treasury Department stick with the usual inane and cowardly practice of releasing its report on a Friday (I’m assuming in the afternoon)? I can only guess that it’s force of habit at this point. I wonder if Senators Lindsay Graham and Chuck Schumer, or economist Fred Bergsten, held press conference on this issue over the weekend? These guys are probably still trying to convince folks that the RMB is 40% undervalued. To be fair, though, I think Chuck Schumer has a press conference on a daily basis no matter what’s going on.
I periodically threaten to stop writing about this issue. I obviously have nothing substantive to say about it anymore. Hell, I went out to dinner a few nights ago and audibly gasped when the check came – this place is too cheap? I think not.
On the other hand, this topic was one of, if not the very first, subjects I ever blogged about. Call it nostalgia, but I think I’ll tough it out. My goal is to wait until some day in the future when China complains that the U.S. is making too much cheap crap and flooding the world with its exports. At that point, I’ll retire. Gladly.