The Wall Street Journal: U.S. hedge funds mount new attacks on China’s yuan

Bets against the yuan by hedge funds come at a time of enormous sensitivity for Chinese leaders, the edition writes

Baku. 1 February. REPORT.AZ/ Some of the biggest names in the hedge-fund industry are piling up bets against China’s currency, setting up a showdown between Wall Street and the leaders of the world’s second-largest economy, Report informs 'The Wall Street Journal' writes.

Kyle Bass’s Hayman Capital Management has sold off the bulk of its investments in stocks, commodities and bonds so it can focus on shorting Asian currencies, including the yuan and the Hong Kong dollar.

It is the biggest concentrated wager that the Dallas-based firm has made since its profitable bet years ago against the U.S. housing market. About 85% of Hayman Capital’s portfolio is now invested in trades that are expected to pay off if the yuan and Hong Kong dollar depreciate over the next three years - a bet with billions of dollars on the line, including borrowed money.

“When you talk about orders of magnitude, this is much larger than the subprime crisis,” said Mr. Bass, who believes the yuan could fall as much as 40% in that period.

Billionaire trader Stanley Druckenmiller and hedge-fund manager David Tepper have staked out positions of their own against the currency, also known as the renminbi, according to people familiar with the matter. 

The funds’ bets come at a time of enormous sensitivity for China’s leaders. The government is struggling on multiple fronts to manage a soft landing for the economy, deal with a heavily indebted banking system and navigate the transition to consumer-led growth.

Expectations for a weaker yuan have led to an exodus of capital by Chinese residents and foreign investors. Though it still boasts the largest holding of foreign reserves at $3.3 trillion, China has experienced huge outflows in recent months. Hedge funds are gambling that China will let its currency weaken further in a bid to halt a flood of money leaving the country and jump-start economic growth.

The effort is a lot riskier, though, than taking on a currency whose value is set by the market. China’s state-run economy gives the government a number of levers to pull and tremendous resources at its disposal.

Analytical Group of Report News Agency believes depreciation of yuan may affect rate of many foreign currency in the world, as well Azerbaijani manat. 

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