The Chinese government manipulates the Renminbi, and will do everything in its power to push the currency to international status. The nation has adopted unpopular techniques to reach that goal, including limiting the availability of the Yuan. While most scholars, including Chris Brummer, have taken note of the anomalous currency internationalization process, the main concern right now, how exactly with this end for China? To answer that question, one has to revisit the definition of an international currency and see whether the Yuan measures up to that status, which other currencies like the US dollar and the British pound have enjoyed for decades.
Firstly, a currency has to fulfill its role as a medium of exchange, which is evidenced based on the degree to which buyers and sellers depend on it as a valid form of payment for goods purchased, and for other financial transactions. For any currency to function as such, it must be legal tender and, as a matter of market tradition, be accepted to hold exchange value for a broad bracket of economic transactions. Thus, the extent to which the Yuan is effectively functioning as a medium of exchange globally is an important way to assess its success as an international or prospective international currency.
You may also assess currency internationalization based on its success as a means to measure value for items such as products, services etc. Note that, while a currency may be effective functioning as a measure of value, it need not be widely used as a means of exchange. This means that one currency may be used to measure the value of goods, only for other currencies to be used to make the payments. Be that as it may, any currency that’s popular as a measure of value internationally is likely a preferred point of reference for cross-border transactions, no matter if any specific market players are really holding the currency.
The third and equally vital indicator of a currency’s international status is how well it’s doing as a stable store of value. Still, this has nothing to do with the popularity of any currency as medium of exchange, but how well it performs as a reserve asset over a period of time. Clearly, when a currency is deployed only as a tool of exchange, but people can’t depend on it as a store of value, it’ll lack demand mainly because companies and consumers cannot keep it for extended periods fearing that their ability to use it may be hurt in case loss of value occurs.
Today, it’s still not clear whether China will have to adopt a conventional growth trajectory to give the Yuan the core characteristics of international currencies.