" China is reported to be accelerating the appreciation of the yuan to combat inflaton instead of increasing its interest rates, in part because of expectations of further cuts in US interest rates. How does appreciation combat inflation?" - Jane
That's an excellent question! There are a number of avenues available for the central bank to try to combat inflation. They've already tried price controls, that I've argued elsewhere will ultimately fail. They've also raised interest rates a number of times as well, an avenue that is more likely to be successful. But perhaps the most effective way to combat China's inflation rate is to allow the currency to appreciate more quickly.
How would that work? Well, as I wrote here, inflation ultimately results from demand exceeding supply within the Chinese economy. An increase in the value of the currency makes Chinese goods relatively more expensive and foreign-made goods relatively cheap. Thus demand for Chinese goods will fall, reducing demand and therefore inflation pressure in China.
There's a related effect as well. China is accumulating foreign reserves at a rapid rate, which means that it is buying foreign currency with domestic currency. To do this, it is expanding the domestic money supply. As Milton Friedman famously said, "Inflation is Always and Everywhere a Monetary Phenonemon." Increase the price of RMB and the demand for RMB will fall- reducing the need for Mainland authorities to increase the money supply.