Yuan Appreciation? Don't Expect Much, Expert Says
Talks between U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Chinese officials will simply be palliative, said Andrew Freris, senior investment strategist, Asia at BNP Paribas Wealth Management.
"I don't think there is going to be any major move at all," Freris said on CNBC.
The market has been abuzz with talk that China may finally allow the yuan to appreciate, as Geithner was due to meet China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan late Thursday.
"(China) will widen the trading range. They can widen by a few basis points on either side -- that will look as if they are letting their renminbi appreciate... and frankly, it means very little," Freris said.
"If (the yuan) moves by 1.5 percent till year end , I don't think it will make any difference to anybody. But at least we would have fed something to the angry Americans that it is not really pegged. They have done that before repeatedly."
Some U.S. lawmakers have been lobbying the Treasury to label the populous nation a "currency manipulator", saying the undervalued yuan hurts U.S. exports to China and makes Chinese products unfairly cheap in America. But the Treasury decided in early April to delay its decision for three months.
"They will offer palliatives to show that they are trying to do something and at the same time, doing very little indeed," he added. "I'm not suggesting for one moment that the renminbi exchange rate will stay pegged forever at 6.8 (against the U.S. dollar), but I genuinely don't see any significant moves for this year."