Thursday, 30 August 2007

Chinese Finance Minister Resigns

Breaking news:

Can it really be "personal reasons"?

Chineses Finance Minister Resigns[Guardinan]

BEIJING (AP) - Government officials said Thursday that Finance Minister Jin Renqing resigned for ``personal reasons,'' amid concerns of surging inflation and just weeks ahead of an expected reshuffling of top government positions.

Jin's tenure saw China's foreign currency reserves surge past $1.3 trillion, a sign both of China's foreign trade juggernaut and the government's failure to balance flows of money into and out of the economy.

China's massive trade deficit with the U.S., which hit $235 billion last year and is expected to grow this year, has put Beijing under pressure to revalue its currency. Critics say the Chinese yuan is deliberately undervalued against the U.S. dollar and other currencies to spur trade by making Chinese exports unfairly cheap.

Beijing says its currency regime is fair, but has allowed a gradual strengthening of the yuan.

Jin oversaw a highly publicized crackdown on tax evasion by the rich as part of efforts to ease public anger at the growing gap between rich and poor. A film star was arrested and others targeted included entrepreneurs and professionals.

Jin's time in office saw huge growth and development in the economy as well as concerns about overheating.

On Wednesday, the central bank said inflation was likely to exceed the government's 3 percent target for the year despite a series of credit-tightening measures to damp down prices and cool enthusiasm for buying shares.

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