BURGENSTOCK, Switzerland — Despite mounting pressure from the Bush administration, China is not likely to sharply revalue the yuan in the near future, international experts and bankers contend.

“Personally, I do not see them doing that in the immediate future. If you take a two-to-three year view, they may move a bit in that direction. Nobody is quite sure what the real position is on the valuation,” said Roy Leighton, chairman of the European board of advisers of the banking conglomerate Credit Lyonnais SA.

“I don’t see this coming to anything more than a modest revaluation. I think of less than 10 percent,” he?said.

Since 1994, the yuan has been pegged at a rate of around 8.28 to the dollar. Some economists have argued that makes it about 40 percent undervalued.

The huge job losses in the U.S. manufacturing sector, coupled with last year’s record $103 billion U.S. trade deficit with China and the Communist nation’s skyrocketing holding of foreign exchange reserves in dollars, which stood at $365.5 billion at the end of June, has intensified calls on the White House to act to redress the imbalance.

Meanwhile, trade economists expect the pressure on U.S. manufacturing industries such as textiles and clothing from Chinese suppliers to continue and even intensify.

In 2002, the U.S. imported $10.1 billion worth of clothing from China and in return exported only $30 million to the world’s most populous nation.

Similarly, U.S. imports of textiles from China reached $2.6 billion in 2002, and in return U.S. exports to China totaled only $190 million, according to World Trade Organization data.

During talks this month in Beijing, John Snow, U.S. treasury secretary, and Horst Kohler, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, separately pressed Chinese leaders on the need to move toward a more flexible exchange rate system.

However, both walked away without any firm commitments.

Chinese authorities, said Kohler, stressed they see exchange-rate flexibility as a desirable goal but feel “that the time is not yet ripe to move in that direction.”

Some experts reckon structural factors are behind China’s reluctance to move.“They need to create jobs substantially…high growth is still very much around the coastline of China and the inland provinces are not sharing, and they are more and more pushing industries from overseas to build factories [inland],” said Leighton. “So the Chinese, from their perspective, need to keep the currency very world competitive to create jobs.”

Asked when China might move to a fully convertible currency system, Leighton, who is also chairman of the World Bank’s international task force on commodities, said: “That’s way in the future, I’m afraid. I would think we’re not going to see that in certainly under five years and my marker for that could be closer to 10 years. It will come in the end but they have got to solve their domestic problems with state-owned enterprises.”

For a long time, China’s state-run enterprises were run with a primary goal of employing as many people as possible. That policy did not result in highly competitive or financially successful enterprises, but state-owned banks propped up the struggling firms with loans.

That has led to some fundamental structural imbalances in China’s economy. Some economists have said that abrupt action in China could lead to widespread social unrest if many businesses collapse and unemployment rises sharply.

Felix Zulauf, head of the Swiss firm Zulauf Asset Management AG, said the Chinese are managing their currency very carefully, to the benefit of China and other nations.

“They are also building up their reserves phenomenally and they don’t sell the dollars,” he said. They can’t because if they sell the dollars into another currency they would rock the boat and the whole miracle would be over because it would force the U.S. into economic catastrophe because interest rates would move up enormously,” he said. “Therefore the Chinese will not do that.”

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