A central bank can make the conscious effort to make its currency less valuable.It's a very tricky maneuver with grave economic consequences.
WHY IT MATTERS:
Whether deliberate or as a result of marketclimate, currency devaluation reduces the price of a country's domestic output. This has the potential to benefit the economy by helping to increase its export volume. Conversely, import volumes become stifled as the price of foreign-produced goods and services increases dramatically.
The opposite of devaluation is known asrevaluation.
China's currency devaluation:-
Chinese policies went too far, creating a financially unsustainable situation that implied the possibility of major price declines and dislocations.
As a result, the adjustment challenge has grown dramatically. With Chinese companies no longer able to sell a rapidly increasing volume of products abroad and support further expansion of productive capacity, the economy has lost some important growth, employment, and wage engines. The resulting economic slowdown has undermined the government’s capacity to maintain inflated asset prices and avoid pockets of credit distress.
In an effort to limit the detrimental impact of all this on citizens’ wellbeing, Chinese officials have been guiding the currency lower. A surprise devaluation last August has been followed by a number of lower daily fixes in the onshore exchange rate, all intended to make Chinese goods more attractive abroad, while accelerating import substitution at home. The renminbi has depreciated even more in the offshore market.
China’s currency devaluations are consistent with a broader trend among both emerging and advanced economies in recent years. Soon after the global financial crisis, the US relied heavily on expansionary monetary policy, characterised by near-zero interest rates and large-scale asset purchases, which weakened the dollar, thereby boosting exports. More recently, the European Central Bank has adopted a similar approach, guiding the euro downward in an effort to boost domestic activity.
But in pursuing its domestic objectives, China risks inadvertently amplifying global financial instability. Specifically, markets worry that renminbi devaluation could “steal” growth from other countries, including those that have far more foreign debt and far less robust financial cushions than China, which maintains ample international reserves.