China Flexing their Muscle

According to the latest data from Treasury, foreign investors were net sellers of U.S. dollars. The Madoff scandal led to a tremendous amount of liquidation by hedge funds in the Caribbean and Luxembourg but we have our eye on China. The Asian Giant continues to be a net buyer of dollar denominated investments, albeit at an increasingly sluggish pace. For the third month in a row, China has slowed their purchase of U.S. dollars. There are many reasons why their demand for dollars is waning, but don’t expect them to become net sellers of U.S. dollars anytime soon ahead of the Treasury’s report on Currency Manipulation next month.

With a month to go before the report is due for release, China is flexing their muscles. This weekend, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao signaled to the U.S. that they are fully aware of the power they have on the U.S. economy and how the U.S. needs China just as much as China needs the U.S. He said that “we lent such huge funds to the United States, and of course we’re concerned about the security of our assets.” If China decided that U.S. investments are no longer safe, their liquidation would drive yields significantly higher and stocks significantly lower. The consequences of infuriating China are severe because they have the power to retaliate.

China’s continual accumulation of U.S. Treasuries is also political. With a growing U.S. deficit, there are much better ways for China to spend their money such as investing in resource companies. The sharp decline in Chinese exports also automatically reduce their need to weaken the Yuan by buying U.S. dollars. However for political reasons, the Feb and March TIC data should continue to report that China is a net buyer of U.S. dollars.

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About Kathy Lien 236 Articles

Kathy Lien is an Internationally Published Author and Chief Strategist of, one of the world’s most popular online websites for currency research. Her trading books include the highly acclaimed, Day Trading the Currency Market: Technical and Fundamental Strategies to Profit form Market Swings (2005, Wiley); High Probability Trading Setups for the Currency Market E-Book (2006, Investopedia); and Millionaire Traders: How Everyday People Are Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game (2007, Wiley). As Chief Currency Strategist at FXCM, Kathy is responsible for providing research and analysis for DailyFX, the research arm of FXCM. She also co-edits the BK Forex Advisor, an Premium Service with Boris Schlossberg – one of the few investment advisory letters focusing strictly on the 2 Trillion/day FX market.

Kathy is also one of the authors of Investopedia’s Forex Education section and has written for, the Asia Times Online, Stocks & Commodities Magazine, MarketWatch, ActiveTrader Magazine, Currency Trader, Futures Magazine and SFO. She is frequently quoted by Bloomberg, Reuters, the Wall street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune and has appeared on CNN, CNBC, CBS and Bloomberg Radio. She has also hosted trader chats on EliteTrader, eSignal and FXStreet, sharing her expertise in both technical and fundamental analysis.

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