Float that sucker.
Perhaps the best way for China to counter President-elect Trump’s outdated claims of manipulation would be to let the currency float. In the short run, however, that would almost surely trigger a plunge versus the U.S. dollar. Given China’s strong penchant for market intervention—including its unfortunate role in the 2015-2016 stock market boom and bust—Chinese savers may simply rush for the exit, fearing that anxious policymakers will slam the gate quickly.
In the end, there is no way to make such a fixed exchange rate regime less awkward without risking a bout of instability. Over the long run, capital controls won’t solve the problem; instead, they will further diminish the efficiency with which the country’s savings are used. For a large economy like China that is integrated into the global trading system, the global norm is a floating currency. Absent a trade war (and perhaps even with one), that’s still probably where we are headed within a few years. And, it’s increasingly a question of when, not if.Money and Banking
China's Awkward Exchange Rate RegimeStephen G. Cecchetti, Professor of International Economics at the Brandeis International Business School, and Kermit L. Schoenholtz, Professor of Management Practice in the Department of Economics of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business
ht Mark Thoma at Economist's View
Cecchetti & Schoenholtz are the authors of Money, Banking and Financial Markets.