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    An Interview with the Deputy Administrator of the SAFE by the Finance and Economics Channel of CCTV
An Interview with the Deputy Administrator of the SAFE by the Finance and Economics Channel of CCTV

Mr. Deng Xianhong, Deputy Administrator of the SAFE, was recently interviewed by Rui Chenggang, reporter from the Finance and Economics Channel of CCTV.


Rui Chenggang (hereinafter referred to as Rui): First, I would like to express my thanks to you for accepting this interview. Can we start from the term?


Deng Xianhong (hereinafter referred to as Deng): OK.


Rui: How do you define hot money?


Deng: To date, there is no uniform definition of hot money. From my point of view, hot money should be categorized differently in countries allowing free capital flows and countries imposing foreign exchange controls. In China, all illegal capital flows without authentic transactional backgrounds (either in trade or investment) and in violation of the foreign exchange administration regulations are considered hot money and are the target of our attack. One of the goals of our macro-economic regulatory policy is to lessen interest-oriented pursuit of the market featured by excessive speculation. And we will take strong administrative measures to combat hot money,which is in breach of both the laws and regulations.


Rui: As for hot money statistics, we have many approaches in the media. How do you calculate the amount of hot money?


Deng: In the context of partially imposed capital controls, hot money flows into a country in the guise of being legal. In other words, it is impossible for hot money to get across the border if it is identified as illegal. Therefore, only by inspections and examinations can we know the amount of hot money. Hot money is somewhat like disbanded soldiers who hide themselves in the thick forest. Only by searching the forest can we get to know the actual number of disbanded troops. Certainly some funds may escape from capture. But I can definitely say that in China, there are no massive inflows of hot money and hot money is only dispersed in small amounts.


Rui: You disagree with the comment that the inflow of hot money is accelerating.  Why is this comment being spread throughout the society?


Deng: Analysis shows that there is a considerable amount of net inflows and surplus. However, we cannot equate such inflows and surplus with hot money. Our analysis indicates that a large amount of the net inflows and surplus results from the allocation of assets and liabilities of enterprises based on their expectations of market interest rates and exchange rates. Serious analysis shows that the settlement of foreign exchange contributes slightly to the increase in net inflows and surplus. However, when it comes to foreign exchange purchases and payments, a large amount of the transactions (imports) are carried out in the form of trade financing, deferred payments, external loans with internal guarantees, overseas agent-based payments, and overseas financing as a substitute for foreign exchange payments. Thus, it appears that the outflow of foreign exchange is relatively small.


Rui: It is true that in the wake of the global financial crisis, the country is facing increasing inflows of capital or liquidity and that may not necessarily be hot money.Is this the reality?


Deng: It is the reality. To combat the financial crisis, some developed countries adopted quantitative easy monetary policies which gave rise to an overwhelming liquidity of funds. Amidst the financial crisis, China took the lead in restoring its economy and achieving a rapid increase in foreign trade. That led to the formation of a gap that led to some expectations about interest margins and exchange margins. The country will see a considerable amount of net inflows of funds, and the inflows will trigger an increase in a favorable balance. Though this has created some pressure for us, we cannot equate the net inflows and surplus with hot money. As mentioned previously, all capital flows with verifiable transactional backgrounds are the results of normal economic activities.


Rui: What are the major motivations for the inflow of hot money in pursuit of arbitrage by illicit means?


Deng: The expectation of an RMB appreciation, the expectation of a rising stock market, and the expectation of a rise in the real estate market. The hot money is generally driven by such expectations, which in turn serve as the target for hot money inflows.


Rui:  In addition to their basic functions, what are the major roles of commercial banks in preventing the inflow of hot money?


Deng: Inspections show that some banks have failed to perform their verification duty, that is to say, some banks have failed to comply completely with the policy requirements for foreign exchange administration, which has given rise to the inflow of hot money.Generally, our inspections during the past few years show that banks have strengthened their regulatory compliance. The banks compliance with the relevant regulations plays an important role in preventing hot money because complete compliance by one bank will mean effective administration of thousands of market entities.


Rui: It is really hard to impose effective regulation on the underground money shops. What are the SAFEs effective approaches for combating against such underground money shops?


Deng: During recent years we have come up with some effective methods for cracking down on underground money shops. For example, we established close collaboration with the public security organs to jointly combat the underground money shops and we have encouraged social forces to become involved. Since the beginning of 2010, we have discovered 13 large-scale money shops. Instead of combating the shops separately, we are now cracking down on them en masse.


Rui: The last question: Are there any foreign investors who have different opinions about the intensified efforts for combating hot money? I mean, they may worry that these efforts may affect their investments? Is this a double-edged sword to a certain degree?


Deng: A good question. It is true that we need to pay special attention to law-based administration when combating hot money. We should take effective measures to combat the illegal inflow of funds. Meanwhile, we need to ensure that the crackdown  is carried out according to the law. It should not affect the legal operations of market entities. In a word, we need to achieve a trade-off between cracking down on hot money and implementing the reform of foreign exchange administration.


Rui: Thank you so much.


The English translation may only be used as a reference. In case a different interpretation of the translated information contained in this website arises, the original Chinese shall prevail.

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