Short sellers may find it more difficult to score profits from betting on a continued depreciation of the yuan, according to economists, who said measures rolled out by the central bank to stabilize market expectations have begun to take effect.
Faced with pressure from capital outflows and a further possible decline in forex reserves, the central bank also might use what is known as window guidance or jawboning－which could be indirect persuasion through market-oriented measures－both onshore and offshore to curb the market’s expectations of a sustained depreciation of the yuan, they said.
Forex reserves fell by $41 billion in December from the previous month to $3.01 trillion, the lowest level since March 2011, almost hitting the $3 trillion psychological line that the central bank tolerates, as some media reports have put it.
“The current level of forex reserves is still way above what the nation needs to cope with external financial risks,” said Zhao Qingming, an economist with China Financial Futures Exchange.
A close look at the change in capital flows as shown in forex reserves data shows a slew of recent measures have taken effect, according to a report released on Jan 8 by Chinese investment bank CICC. It referred to measures like strengthened supervision for overseas investment projects and foreign acquisitions.
Capital outflows in December amounted to $30.9 billion, far lower than the $46.2 billion in November, according to the report’s estimate.
The offshore yuan jumped 2.6 percent in two days last week, the biggest gain against the greenback since 2010.