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Sarkozy super salesman on China visit

Rich pickings in China for the French president and his cohort of ministers and business leaders, who between them have won 20 billion euros worth of orders on day two of Nicolas Sarkozy's three-day visit.

The deals came with a word of advice from Sarkozy that it was time for the Chinese to let their money appreciate.

The big winners included Areva, the French nuclear reactor builder winning its biggest-ever order, Airbus, which is to build 160 planes for the Chinese, and Telecoms giant Alcatel-Lucent. Engineer Alstom and Energy group Suez also won contracts.

On exchange rates Sarkozy was keeping the EU's Chinese trade deficit in mind;

"We want Chinese growth to develop, and remain strong. This implies that it's in China's own interest to let its currency rise against the Euro", he said.

Airbus in particular operates in a dollar-denominated market, and as the Chinese shadow the greenback the Yuan is weak, making European exports there more expensive. In turn, the low Yuan means European firms cannot get enough of cheap imports.

However despite increasing pressure from both Europe and America the current exchange rate seems to suit Beijing, and it is unlikely there will be any significant revaluation soon.


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