In global currency markets, a government gets stability when its strategy is clear and credible. And right now, China’s is neither, highlighting investors’ worries that Beijing’s divided feelings about the renminbi’s exchange rate will continue to roil equity markets for the foreseeable future.
Thursday brought a vivid demonstration of how uncertain investors are about Chinese policy when the Shanghai stock exchange tripped emergency circuit breakers after 15 minutes of trading, and closed for the day a short time after.
The renminbi’s rate to the dollar also fell for the fourth straight day, the largest daily slide since an August devaluation that woke global equity markets up to the prospect of extended pressure on the Chinese currency.
More concretely, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, reported that its foreign exchange reserves fell by $108 billion over the past month, bringing them below the $3.3 trillion mark and declining at a faster pace than the previous month. That indicates the central bank is, for all intents and purposes, defending the currency from ever-greater pressure to fall further.