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Betting on renminbi's appreciation banned
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-10 00:37

China's foreign exchange (forex) watchdog yesterday vowed to get tougher on speculation on the renminbi's appreciation.

"We now seriously warn all speculators engaged in illegal speculative activities that the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE)... will not ignore any activities and evidence of misdeeds that play havoc with the order of our foreign exchange market," a SAFE spokesman said in a statement.

The spokesman was responding to media reports saying that up to US$1 trillion in hot money has been used to speculate on the appreciation of China's currency.

Hot money is a term used in financial circles for funds that flow across different markets for quick speculative profits.

The spokesman said that SAFE has spotted "abnormal phenomena" such as cheating in import and export price reporting and excessive borrowing of funds.

"These behaviours, to a large extent, have characteristics of speculative arbitrage," the spokesman said.

He made special reference to speculation in the real estate market, where soaring prices are believed to be partly caused by funds illegally channeled into China.

The spokesman admitted that China's financial system has loopholes that can be used by international speculators.

But the costs of such speculative activities are high, he said.

The renminbi is not fully convertible, which makes it very difficult for speculative funds to enter and leave China.

So it's not possible for such activities to have a large impact.

However, SAFE will not tolerate any illegal speculation, the spokesman said.

The spokesman said SAFE will monitor capital flow more carefully and mend loopholes in foreign exchange administration in a timely manner.

It will also closely work with law enforcement departments in its fight against wrongdoings in the foreign exchange market, he said.

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