Oh how the mighty have fallen. The renminbi, the world’s ninth most traded currency in 2013 and often touted as a future reserve currency to the rival the dollar, has slipped in recent weeks. Swarms of secretive insiders have been jostling to tell foreign media that the People’s Bank of China planned the move in order to prepare to widen the yuan trading band. Central bankers won’t admit it directly, so they’re getting their interns to call reporters at places like The Wall Stree Journal to take credit for the move.
But the fall in the value of the yuan has actually been caused by mainlanders selling their holdings of Mao’s Money and buying bitcoins instead. Welcome to the new FX world order.
The misunderstood currency has been trading at a huge discount to the highs it reached late last year following glitches and thefts at major exchanges. Some of the biggest mainland investors in bitcoin are hoping a sharp rebound in the virtual coin will propel them onto the list of Chinese billionaires, which gained 41 members last year – reflecting the egalitarian Socialist utopia that China has built in the 30 years of reform.
This week’s post isn’t particularly funny. For those living in China the reason should be obvious: Pollution is getting toxic, it’s getting worse and it is not going away. The WHO calls Beijing smog a “crisis” – in the language of global bodies that never say anything remotely controversial about China for fear of getting censored or booted out that is the equivalent of saying “you’re doomed!” Projections that heavy industry is opening more new plants than it is closing just deepen the gloom. The editors at CER Tower barely see People’s Square 22 floors below our office in Shanghai.
We’re not the only ones feeling the blues this week. Italian super-duper penis extension maker Lamborghini has warned of slowing mainland sales, adding to the list of similar warnings from other producers of pointlessly expensive and totally unnecessary items. For them, China’s bitcoin billionaires had better start becoming a reality soon.