By John Ikani
Data released by China Foreign Exchange Trade System revealed that the central parity rate of the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, weakened 81 pips to ¥6.8998 against the dollar on Monday.
The central parity rate of the yuan against the dollar was based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before the opening of the interbank market each business day.
Just months ago, the Chinese yuan was reigning supreme as emerging markets’ own haven asset, shielding investors from the turbulence of war and runaway inflation.
It’s a stunning reversal for a currency that stood out for its resilience at the outbreak of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
In the days following the Feb. 24 invasion, the yuan was the only emerging-market exchange rate to avoid a decline, trading at an almost four-year high against MSCI Inc.’s benchmark index.
Global demand for it deepened — from countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia looking to reduce their reliance on the dollar to US bond investors seeking new havens.
But in the past month, sentiment has reversed. China’s Zero Covid policy, ballooning property crisis and growth slowdown are fueling an exodus of foreign capital, even as domestic inflationary expectations surge.
As growth sputters in the world’s second-biggest economy, its currency has tumbled to a two-year low and looks set for further losses.
The yuan declined for a sixth consecutive month in August, capping the longest losing streak since the height of the US-led trade war in October 2018.
Banks including Societe Generale SA, Nomura Holdings Inc. and Bank of America Corp. say the Chinese currency will fall even more and cross the psychological mark of 7 per dollar this year.
China’s central bank has sought to push back against the depreciation. It set the yuan fixing at a stronger-than-expected level for the ninth straight session, however the dollar’s strength is undermining such defensive tactics.