China Severs Its Currency's Link to Dollar

China dropped its politically volatile policy of linking its currency to the U.S. dollar on Thursday, adopting a more flexible system based on a basket of foreign currencies that could push up the price of Chinese exports to the United States and Europe. The government also strengthened the state-set exchange rate to 8.11 yuan to the dollar — from 8.277 yuan, where it had been fixed for more than a decade — in a surprise announcement on state television's evening news. That raised the value of one yuan by about one-quarter of one U.S. cent to 12.33 cents. China had been under pressure for years from its trading partners to let the value of the yuan float or at least trade at a stronger rate and some U.S. lawmakers had threatened to impose retaliatory tariffs if China didn't adjust its currency scheme. The United States and others had said the communist nation undervalued the yuan by up to 40 percent, giving Chinese exporters an unfair price advantage. The Bush administration on Thursday praised China's decision but said it planned to monitor the country's implementation of the new arrangement.