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China Calls For New Global Currency.


Source : http://abcnews.go.com

China calls for new global currency controlled by International Monetary Fund.

By JOE McDONALD (Associate Press Business Writer).

China is calling for a new global currency controlled by the International Monetary Fund, stepping up pressure ahead of a London summit of global leaders for changes to a financial system dominated by the U.S. dollar and Western governments.

he comments, in an essay by the Chinese central bank governor released late Monday, reflects Beijing's growing assertiveness in economic affairs. China is expected to press for developing countries to have a bigger say in finance when leaders of the Group of 20 major economies meet April 2 in London to discuss the global crisis.

Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan's essay did not mention the dollar by name but said the crisis showed the dangers of relying on one nation's currency for international payments. In an unusual step, the essay was published in both Chinese and English, making clear it was meant for an international audience.

"The crisis called again for creative reform of the existing international monetary system towards an international reserve currency," Zhou wrote.

A reserve currency is the unit in which a government holds its reserves. But Zhou said the proposed new currency also should be used for trade, investment, pricing commodities and corporate bookkeeping.

Beijing has long been uneasy about relying on the dollar for the bulk of its trade and to store foreign reserves. Premier Wen Jiabao publicly appealed to Washington this month to avoid any steps in response to the crisis that might erode the value of the dollar and Beijing's estimated $1 trillion holdings in Treasuries and other U.S. government debt.

The currency should be based on shares in the IMF held by its 185 member nations, known as special drawing rights, or SDRs, the essay said. The Washington-based IMF advises governments on economic policy and lends money to help with balance-of-payments problems.

Independent economists have suggested creating a new reserve currency to reduce reliance on the dollar but acknowledge that would face obstacles. It would need acceptance from governments that have relied on the dollar for decades and hold huge stockpiles of U.S. currency.

"There has been for decades talk about creating an international reserve currency and it has never really progressed," said Michael Pettis, a finance professor at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management.

Managing such a currency would require balancing the contradictory needs of countries with high and low growth or with trade surpluses or deficits, Pettis said. He said the 16 European nations that use the euro have faced "huge difficulties" in managing monetary policy even though their economies are similar.

"It's hard for me to imagine how it's going to be easier for the world to have a common currency for trade," he said.

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