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BlackRock Reports on China's Currency, Domestic GDP Data, and the Fed's View of the Economy

Posted by WrapManager's Investment Policy Committee

July 26, 2018

Should China's Currency Worry Markets?

A slide in the Chinese yuan is sparking fears of a sharper devaluation that could rattle global markets. Are the worries justified? We see the yuan depreciating moderately in response to slower growth, financial deleveraging and escalating trade tensions. We expect China to rely mostly on fiscal and monetary tools, rather than the currency, to manage any growth slowdown in the second half.

The Chinese currency posted its biggest monthly fall against the U.S. dollar on record in June - just as the trade tussle between China and the U.S. heated up. The yuan has slid 4% so far this year, with the fall accelerating since mid-June when U.S. President Donald Trump announced a 25% tariff on $50 billion of Chinese imports. See the blue line in the chart above. We do not see China resorting to a 2015-style devaluation to cushion the blow. Back then, a lack of market confidence in China’s policy framework contributed to capital flight (see the green bars), spooking global markets. Today, China has stricter capital controls in place – and improved coordination between policymakers. We believe this should give the government confidence to allow the yuan to gradually slide lower.

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