(For those following at home, 人民币 = ren min bi = "people's money" = Chinese currency.)
Today the Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, once again postponed a determination of whether the Chinese government was practicing "currency manipulation." Reports on this topic are due each April 15 and October 15; this is essentially the same thing he did the last time around.
For reasons laid out yesterday, I think this makes sense. Update notes:
1) Geithner's brief statement makes clear that the goal is to keep the RMB moving (without an exact target), and that in the past few weeks the Chinese government has been doing just that:
>>Since June 19, 2010, when China announced it would ... allow the exchange rate to move higher in response to market forces, the Chinese currency has appreciated by roughly 3 percent against the U.S. dollar. Since September 2, 2010, the pace of appreciation has accelerated to a rate of more than 1 percent per month. If sustained over time, this would help correct what the IMF has concluded is a significantly undervalued currency.<<
2) Today the U.S. government also said it would further investigate a complaint, initiated by the United Steelworkers union, about Chinese government subsidies for a variety of "clean energy" projects -- toward an end of taking this complaint, and others, to the World Trade Organization. Again: by the standards mentioned yesterday, good call. Using some of the broad range of U.S. leverage; recognizing (as governments everywhere have) the extent of Chinese government intervention in these industries; and -- crucially -- preparing to take it for international jurisdiction rather than making it a head-to-head US-Chinese issue.