U.S. dollar printing is huge risk: China central bank adviser

BEIJING (Reuters) - Unbridled printing of dollars is the biggest risk to the global economy, an adviser to the Chinese central bank said in comments published on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve unveiled a new round of monetary easing.

China must set up a firewall via currency policy and capital controls to cushion itself from external shocks, Xia Bin said in a commentary piece in the Financial News, a Chinese-language newspaper managed by the central bank.

“As long as the world exercises no restraint in issuing global currencies such as the dollar -- and this is not easy -- then the occurrence of another crisis is inevitable, as quite a few wise Westerners lament,” he said.

Li Daokui, another academic adviser to the central bank, said loose money in the United States would translate into additional pressure on the Chinese yuan to appreciate.

“A certain amount of capital will flow into China, either through Hong Kong or directly into the mainland,” Li said.

But he added that Beijing would stick to its own gradual pace in managing the yuan’s rise. He also said that big gains in U.S. midterm elections by Republicans, who are seen as more friendly to free trade, had made him “a bit relieved” because political calls for China to let the yuan rise would likely quiet down.

The Federal Reserve launched a fresh effort on Wednesday to support the struggling U.S. economy, committing to buy $600 billion in government bonds despite concerns the program could do more harm than good.

Policymakers from emerging market powerhouses in Latin America and Asia said they would come up with fresh measures to curb capital inflows following the Fed policy.

Wang Zihong, a U.S.-focused economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank, said the U.S. quantitative easing could add to inflationary concerns in China.

“It will put pressure on the dollar to weaken, thus pushing up global commodity prices, including oil. So it will increase imported inflation pressure in some countries, including China,” he said.


But Wang dismissed suggestions that China might sell some of its vast stock of U.S. Treasuries as a way of punishing the United States and cutting Beijing’s exposure to dollars.

“This is an emotional proposal. What will China buy after selling Treasuries? Do we have any idea? No, we are unable to think out an idea,” Wang said.

Xia, the central bank adviser, said that it will take a long time for the global monetary system to improve and that China must be ready to hold the line on its currency policy and capital controls.

“We must keep a clear mind. We must not lead the world in financial regulation, nor simply follow the deeds of mature economies. We must think ‘what is good for us’,” he said.

China already has a regime of tight capital controls in place, limiting its vulnerability to the wave of liquidity that analysts say could be pushed toward emerging markets by easier U.S. monetary policy.

By closely managing the yuan’s exchange rate, Beijing has also been able to blunt appreciation pressure in the face of a weakening dollar.

To better coordinate its policies, China should establish a team in charge of broad economic and financial supervision above its current network of financial regulators, Xia said.

As an academic adviser on the central bank’s monetary policy committee, Xia does not have decision-making powers but does provide input to the policy-making process.

Reporting by Langi Chiang, Aileen Wang and Simon Rabinovitch; Editing by Neil Fullick