The IMF pointed out in the report that China's current account surplus as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) fell by about 1 percentage point to 0.4% in 2018, and is expected to remain at 0.5% in 2019. According to the assessment, the external position of China in 2018 is basically consistent with the level of the medium-term fundamentals and the desirable policy.
The report also said that IMF executives praised China's recent reforms, especially in reducing the fragility of the financial sector and continuing to open the economy. Executive Directors welcomed the Chinese government's commitment to a multilateralist and rule-oriented trading system and believed that Sino-US trade tensions should be resolved quickly through a comprehensive agreement.
For the content of the report, many world-renowned experts have conducted the first interpretation:
James Daniel, assistant director of the IMF's Asia-Pacific Department and head of China affairs, said that the exchange rate of the RMB in 2018 is basically in line with the economic fundamentals and there is no obvious overestimation or underestimation. He pointed out that China's current account surplus has continued to decline in recent years, and the IMF supports China to increase the flexibility of the RMB exchange rate.
Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia University in the United States, said that the IMF report clearly shows that China “has no manipulation of the exchange rate”. The US Treasury’s decision to list China as a “currency manipulator” is “arbitrary, capricious and politicized”.
Mark Sobel, a former US Treasury official and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the IMF’s report refutes the US Treasury’s recent allegations that China “manipulates” the exchange rate to gain unfair trade competitive advantage. The IMF’s China in 2019 Estimates of current account surplus indicate that China has not intervened in the foreign exchange market.