Analysis: China’s currency foray augurs geopolitical strains

“It’s our currency and your problem,” U.S. Treasury Secretary John Connally famously said of the dollar in 1971.

More than 40 years later, China is doing something about it.

Fed up with what it sees as Washington’s malign neglect of the dollar, China is busily promoting the cross-border use of its own currency, the yuan, also known as the renminbi, in trade and investment.

The aim is both narrowly commercial – to reduce transaction costs for Chinese exporters and importers – and sweepingly strategic.

Displacing the dollar, Beijing says, will reduce volatility in oil and commodity prices and belatedly erode the ‘exorbitant privilege’ the United States enjoys as the issuer of the reserve currency at the heart of a post-war international financial architecture it now sees as hopelessly outmoded.

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