Yuan Declines Several Days in a Row
We want to point readers to our previous article on the rout in various EM currencies, in which we opined that the dramatic weakening of the Japanese yen was likely an important trigger of these moves. We felt reminded of the Asian crisis in this context, which could ultimately be traced back to a succession of events, beginning with a massive unilateral yuan devaluation in 1994, which was soon followed by the yen weakening sharply from its 1995 blow-off top. The 'Asian Tigers' meanwhile had maintained currency pegs to the dollar, which led to large current account deficits and the build-up of credit and asset bubbles. Many companies in these countries borrowed in dollars, believing the pegs had removed currency risk. The outcome was not pretty.
In theory, there exists much greater flexibility nowadays – there are no longer any pegs, with the notable exception of the currency board arrangement of the Hong Kong Dollar, and many of the former crisis countries have used the time since the Asian crisis to build up large war chests in the form of sizable foreign exchange reserves. However, sudden capital outflows and sharply weakening exchange rates are still bound to have numerous knock-on effects.
Anyway, we were wondering for how much longer China would allow the yuan to appreciate in this environment and are therefore keeping a close eye on the currency. It may well be that the trend is about to change. In recent days, the yuan has weakened markedly, although the move is still small in a bigger picture context. Still, it is the biggest monthly downward correction in some time. If the yuan were to weaken further, we would have to conclude that China's leadership has decided that it is no longer advantageous to let the currency appreciate.
The yuan has been a one way street for so long now that we imagine all sorts of trading strategies have been implemented around this seeming one way bet. In other words, a significant weakening of the yuan may have numerous unexpected effects due to the interconnectedness of financial markets.
Below are a daily and a monthly chart of the yuan showing the recent moves. As can be seen, the daily values have been quite volatile for some time and the recent move has merely ended at the lower end of the trading range of the past two months. In terms of its extent, the move is therefore not overly noteworthy yet. It may still turn out to be just another blip. However, on the daily chart the recent move has acquired more of a 'trending character' than was exhibited by the short term volatility that preceded it:
The yuan, daily – after a great deal of volatility in January and February, a trend is seemingly crystallizing now – click to enlarge.
On the monthly chart, we can see that the recent correction is actually the biggest reversal in quite some time – the last time a similar move was seen on a monthly basis was in early 2012. Of course, that move turned out to be a mere pause – the yuan resumed its rally shortly thereafter. This time we have some doubts that the same thing will happen again. Political pressure on China with respect to the alleged undervaluation of the yuan has eased markedly, and in view of the much weaker Japanese yen and the rout in many EM currencies, there seems to be no good reason to let the appreciation of the yuan continue.
Shanghai Stock Market – Bound to Make a Move Soon?
Meanwhile, China's stock market just doesn't seem able to get out of its rut…the larger downtrend remains intact so far, however, the decline has lost a lot of momentum over the past two years and the index has not made new lows since the spike down that occurred in the middle of last year. There may soon be an opportunity to play it for a trade, provided it continues to hold above last year's lows. A break of said lows would of course be bearish, but we currently don't expect that to happen. However, we think one should definitely wait and see if the lows will actually hold before making a commitment:
The Shanghai stock market is still going nowhere. If it manages to maintain a sideways trend for much longer, then it may be time to think about playing it for a trade. Whenever a market becomes extremely dull, it is usually a good idea to watch it closely – just remember Japan's stock market in 2011-2012 – click to enlarge.
One definitely should keep an eye on the yuan's trend. If the yuan actually begins to weaken more significantly, wider repercussions are likely to ensue. The downtrend in the yen seems to have added quite a bit of momentum to the weakening of exchange rates in many emerging markets, and it seems likely that a weaker yuan would add to the pressure.
China's stock market meanwhile has entered a phase of 'dullness' – at some point a playable rally will likely emerge out of the recent sideways movement. In the event that last year's lows are broken, another leg down in the bear market is going to be underway, which can of course not yet be ruled out in view of the larger trend. However, we think the probability that the market will eventually rally is somewhat higher (even a combination, i.e., first a sizable rally, then a move to new lows is of course possible). Usually markets that have been dull for quite some time soon cease to be dull.
Charts by: Investing.com, StockCharts
We are happy to report that our funding target has been reached – once again, a hearty thank you to all contributors, your support is greatly appreciated!
As a result of us having gotten from A to B, the annoying graphic is hereby retired. However, be aware that the donations button continues to exist. It is actually perfectly legitimate to use it during the non-funding season as well; assorted advantages we have listed that often result from doing so are likewise persistent (i.e., increased happiness, children including you in their songs, potential obtaining of privileges in the hereafter, etc., etc.). Unfortunately we can't promise that it will make the gold price go up, but we're working on that.
Thank you for your support!
To donate Bitcoins, use this address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke
One Response to “The Yuan Weakens – Is it Just Another Blip?”
Most read in the last 20 days:
- The Baby Boomer Survival Guide (Part I)
The Yellow Machines Go Silent PARIS – What should you do if you are running out of time and money? This is the question we get from readers over 50… over 60… and sometimes over 70. We baby boomers were famously “na… na… na… live for today.” Now, it’s tomorrow. And many of us – often through no fault of our own – are having trouble making ends meet. At the Diary, we write about the world of money. About economic policy and how it affects you. But what if,...
- Faith in Central Banks Dwindles
Even Bloomberg Notices that Something is Amiss As anyone who hasn't been in a coma knows, assorted central bank interventions have failed to achieve their stated goals over the past several years. A recent article at Bloomberg focuses on their failure to reach their “inflation” targets. Of course, this particular failure is actually reason to celebrate, as it means that consumers have at least been spared an even sharper decline in their real incomes than has been underway in spite...
- EU Moloch in a Fresh Bid to Inflate
Brussels Alters Capital Requirements to “Spur Lending” Saints preserve us, the central planners in Brussels are giving birth to new inflationist ideas. Apparently the 2008 crisis wasn't enough of a wake-up call. It should be clear by now even to the densest observers that a fractionally reserved banking system that flagrantly over-trades its capital is prone to collapse when the tide is going out. 2008 was really nothing but a brief reminder of this fact. The political and...
- The Baby Boomer Survival Guide (Part II)
A Lehman Moment for Commodities? LONDON – Today, we continue our philosophical look at what you should do if you are running out of time and money. (You can catch up on Part I here.) Where do we begin? With how to add wealth? Or how to lose it? The way to lose it is simple. You buy something that is not worth the money you paid for it. You are instantly poorer, whether you know it or not. The pleasingly plump. Illustration by jdeer69 DJIA, daily...
- US Stock Market: A Retest or Worse?
Gray Swans and Black Swans By Monday's close, the S&P 500 Index was closing in on the low established in the August swoon – such a retest was essentially our minimum expectation, as V-shaped rebounds are very rare. The question is now whether it will only be a retest, or if something worse is in the offing. No-one knows for sure of course, but we'll briefly discuss what we are looking at in this context. Image via NYTimes It is interesting that as the market...
- Climate Fanatics Run Into Public Relations Snag
Scientists Turn into Stalinists Last week, we happened to stumble across a press report about a group of climate scientists so eager to shut up their critics that they want to employ the State's police, courts and jailers for the purpose. Specifically, a group of academic (and presumably tenured) climate alarmists supporting the “CAWG” theory (CAWG=”catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”) have written a letter to president Obama, attorney-general Lynch and OSTP director...
- Swiss Parliament Shoots Down Socialist Utopia
No “Unconditional Basic Income” Similar to the minimum wage initiative pursued by Geneva-based socialists (which was rejected in a referendum - see “The Swiss Remain Sane” for details), another Utopian socialist dream has just floundered in Switzerland. As the European press reports, this time parliament has shot down a radical proposal forwarded by Socialist Party representative Andreas Gross. Photo via anti-kapitalismus.org Gross wanted the State to pay...