Thursday, February 10, 2011

A True Fable

This post will be short, because I’ve spent way too much time this week on visa and summer issues and very little on important things like studying and getting listening exposure.

Back in May, when I got a Light Fellowship check for $30,000 (all of which has since been used or returned), I was sure that the thing to do was to convert it all into RMB, immediately. The RMB, I reasoned, was bound to gain in value against the USD, given that that 1) it has long been kept under market value by the Chinese government, 2) the U.S. is continually pushing for China to revalue the RMB, and 3) China’s leaders themselves had both adopted and openly stated a policy of revaluing, though at a much, much slower pace than the U.S. wants.

At the time, I eventually abandoned the idea. I would have to open a Chinese bank account (either that or take out massive amounts of cash and store them in a secure briefcase), which I figured would be difficult and time-consuming, and not worth the small gain I would probably make on exchange rate fluctuation.

Between May 2010 and February 2011, the RMB gained ~4% in value against the USD. Very roughly adjusting for when I paid my program bills and returned the remaining portion of the fellowship, I could have made a comfortable $700 by now.

Not bad for opening a bank account.

In other news, I just got the following news text from Xinhua:
“Fujian’s Longyan City Inspection Corps Administrator Jiang __ , after joining the corps via introduction, never once made a report – nor, over the course of 9 years, did he ever spend one day at work – but his pay was still issued as usual. Netizens have dubbed him ‘China’s Most Badass Civil Servant.’”

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, we used to not have to worry about exchange rates with RMB (while the Yen and Won were always sources of volatility, especially for our year-long funding). We're watching RMB carefully now, too.