Alex's Blog

Further global contagion or strategic positioning?

The value of investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise.

This article from the FT talks about one of the few relatively unblemished countries from the credit crisis, Australia, now buying up large chunks of Chinese sovereign debt in the name of building trade relationships and diversification. This in my view is a prime example of the negative face of globalisation and might be that the Australians could end up regretting this in years to come should the Chinese regime (and thus economy) come a cropper. On the flip side there are advantages to investing in China; increased trade and closer ties with the Chinese.


With the prospect of ‘currency wars’  (I will write about this in future blogs) looming on the horizon perhaps Australia are picking their side carefully by way of a renminbi buying spree..

Australia to buy Chinese government debt

By Josh Noble in Hong Kong

The Australian central bank plans to invest about 5 per cent of its foreign  reserves in Chinese government bonds, in the latest move to build closer  economic ties between the two countries.

“This decision to invest in China  is an important one. It reflects the broader economic  relationship between China and Australia and our increasing financial ties”, Philip Lowe, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, said in a speech  on Wednesday in Shanghai. “It provides greater diversification of our  investments and will help with our understanding of the Chinese financial  markets.”

Earlier this month, Australia became only the third country to establish a direct  currency trading link with China, after the US and Japan. The RBA and the  People’s Bank of China also set up a currency swap facility in March 2012. The  RBA had around A$38.2bn ($39bn) in foreign reserves at the end of March.

China is Australia’s  top export destination, and its biggest source of imports. Last year, more than  a quarter of Australia’s exports – mainly commodities – went to China, up from  less than 5 per cent during the 1990s, according to the RBA.

Australia will join a small but growing band of central banks that have  looked to China to diversify their foreign reserves.

Chile, Japan, and Malaysia all hold renminbi assets, often in the form of  offshore bonds – known as “dim sum” bonds – while Nigeria’s central bank holds  around 10 per cent of its reserves in the Chinese currency.

Recent regulatory  changes have opened up China’s onshore bond and equity markets to global  investors through the renminbi qualified institutional investor (RQFII) quota  scheme.

Foreign investors were previously limited to investing in the equity market,  and to using US dollars. Mr Lowe said the PBoC had already approved a quota for  the RBA to invest.

In March last year, Japan became the first major developed country to receive  approval to invest directly in Chinese sovereign debt.

China has sought to open up new investment  channels for renminbi holders as part of its efforts to internationalise its  currency. Limited investment avenues have been one factor deterring foreign  companies from receiving trade earnings in the Chinese currency.

But Mr Lowe said he was optimistic that once some of the existing constraints  were overcome, the renminbi would “become the invoicing currency of choice for  many businesses on both sides of our trading relationship”.

Last year, around 12 per cent of China’s trade was settled in renminbi, but  that is forecast to rise to about 15 per cent this year by Deutsche Bank.

This article is from the, Ref. link

A CFurther global contagion or strategic positioning?