China bears like Kyle Bass claimed victory last year after bets that the Chinese yuan would weaken paid off handsomely – particularly if they were supercharged by leverage. Hopefully, for their sake, yuan decided to lock in those gains early this year. Because since January, China’s currency has whipsawed higher, reversing most of its 2016 depreciation as the US dollar has endured a period of broad weakness, and Chinese policy makers have turned their attention to managing the currency’s valuation against a basket of currencies.
But Mark Hart, who, like Bass is a Texas-based fund manager, and who built his bear case against China on the theory that the PBOC would opt for a series of one-off devaluations in the yuan, instead of allowing it to gradually depreciate, which would be tantamount to a policy error.
Here’s more from a post on Hart’s outlook that we published last year:
‘Hart believes that the Chinese crawling devaluation is an error as it carries with its the latent threat of much more devaluation in the future, thus encouraging even more outflows, which in turn forces China to sell even more reserves, which destabilizes the economy even further, forcing even more devaluation and so on.
Instead, a one-off devaluation would allow policy makers to ‘draw a line in the sand’ at a more appropriate level for the yuan, easing pressure on China’s foreign-exchange reserves and removing an incentive for capital outflows, according to Hart, who’s been betting against the currency since at least 2011. He adds that China should devalue before its $3.3 trillion hoard of reserves shrinks much further, he said, because the country can still convince markets it’s acting from a position of strength.’
According to Hart, while a devaluation this year would be ‘jarring’ and may initially accelerate capital outflows, it would ultimately put China in a stronger position. He said the country could explain the move by saying it would put the yuan at a level more reflective of market forces and allow the currency to catch up with declines in international peers.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 7, 2017.