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Hong Kong, London, and the Offshore Renminbi: International Financial Centres and China’s Financial Transnationalization

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  • UserJulian Gruin, Assistant Professor of Transnational Governance at the University of Amsterdam. Jeremy Green, Lecturer in International Political Economy in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge.
  • ClockWednesday 30 November 2016, 14:00-15:30
  • HouseRoom 138, Alison Richard Building, Sidgwick Site, 7 West Road, CB3 9DT.

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The Global Financial Crisis has catalysed transformation in the international monetary system, weakening confidence in the stability of the dollar-centred system and fuelling the internationalisation of China’s renminbi (RMB). The emerging political economy debate over the changing global financial order has, however, generally been pitched at a high level of empirical generality and theoretical abstraction, and remains overly reliant upon methodological nationalism. To address this deficiency this paper brings a focus on the financial geography of international financial centres to the debate. Empirically, we explore the process of RMB transnationalization within two distinctive offshore financial centres, Hong Kong and London. We examine the nature and influence of the linkages between these two centres in the process of RMB transnationalization, arguing that these centres contain sources of political agency that are increasingly influential in shaping the post-crisis global financial order. Conceptually, we investigate whether the liberal dollar-centred pre-crisis financial order is being displaced by a singular emerging Chinese state-led order based upon an internationalising renminbi and an associated Chinese conception of finance and paradigm of global financial governance. Or whether we are witnessing the emergence of financial order/s in the plural, marked by spatially distinct and institutionally divergent practices of RMB internationalisation linked to specific financial networks and prevailing financial norms and practices.

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