Obama, Geithner hail Chinese plan to allow more yuan flexibility

President Barack Obama hailed a decision by the Chinese government over the weekend to allow its currency to fluctuate more freely with market forces.

Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner both welcomed an announcement by China's central bank that it would allow greater exchange rate flexibility for the yuan, which is pegged against the value of the U.S. dollar.

"China’s decision to increase the flexibility of its exchange rate is a constructive step that can help safeguard the recovery and contribute to a more balanced global economy," Obama said in a statement. "I look forward to discussing these and other issues at the G-20 Summit in Toronto next weekend."


China's currency is widely seen by economists as being kept artificially beneath its real value. The Chinese government has pegged its currency to the dollar, though, in part to keep stable its balance of trade with the U.S. and other nations.

"We welcome China's decision to increase the flexibility of its exchange rate. Vigorous implementation would make a positive contribution to strong and balanced global growth," Geithner said Saturday. "We look forward to continuing our work with China in the G20 and bilaterally to strengthen the recovery."

The Chinese currency policy had become a growing force of consternation among some lawmakers, most prominently Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who planned legislation that could have allowed the U.S. to pursue retaliatory tariffs against China.

Its not clear how China's announcement today will affect, if at all, lawmakers' inclination to pursue such legislation against China.