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Review Essay

The Renminbi Goes Global

The Meaning of China's Money

In This Review

Gaining Currency: The Rise of the Renminbi
Gaining Currency: The Rise of the Renminbi
By Eswar Prasad
Oxford University Press, 2016, 344 pp. Purchase
The People’s Money: How China Is Building a Global Currency
The People’s Money: How China Is Building a Global Currency
By Paola Subacchi
Columbia University Press, 2016, 256 pp. Purchase

Last October, the International Monetary Fund officially added China’s currency, the renminbi, to the basket that makes up its Special Drawing Rights, the reserve asset in which the IMF denominates its loans to governments. Until then, only the U.S. dollar, the euro, the British pound, and the Japanese yen had enjoyed this exalted status. The addition of the renminbi to the SDR basket occasioned much celebration in China. Lu Jian, vice president of the Guangdong Guangken Rubber Group, hailed the event as a “historic moment.” The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, announced that the move was “an affirmation of the success of China’s economic development and results of the reform and opening up of the financial sector.” As far as many Chinese were concerned, the IMF’s move signaled that the renminbi had become a leading global currency, befitting one of

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