There is a science to writing the communiques that are issued at the end of international meetings. And an art to reading them. Witness the one issued at the end of the meeting of G7 finance ministers in Tokyo today.
Full text is here but let’s look just at the passage about one hot-button issue, the yuan.
“We encourage” the need for greater appreciation of the yuan, the ministers said. That is a change from “we stress” in the communique they issued after their last meeting in October.
Is that a diplomatic pat on the back for Beijing for letting the yuan rise at a quicker pace against the euro and the dollar in the interim, as both the Europeans and the Americans have pressed for? And if it is, to what extent should Beijing take that as an easing of the pressure on it to continue to do so.
None at all, if Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, is to believed. He told reporters after the meeting that the message on the yuan’s appreciation was very clear: “We encourage it to accelerate,” he said, perhaps even stressed.