What's next for the renminbi after a bruising 2018?
It's been a bad year for most emerging market currencies. China’s yuan wasn’t the worst performer — that prize probably goes to Argentina’s peso — but it was close, hitting a 10-year low against the U.S. dollar in October. The currency has recovered slightly since, but is still hovering close to the 7-yuan-per-dollar line.
In 2019, many of the factors that pressured the currency are hanging around. There’s little expectation the yuan will strengthen significantly; rather, the debate is about how much weaker it could get. Here are key factors we are watching:
- Trade war negotiations: If these fail, the yuan could take a big hit — although Chinese exports would then become more attractive, possibly inciting even more U.S. anger
- China’s slowing growth: 2019 will likely see GDP growth drop significantly, putting more pressure on the yuan
- The U.S. Federal Reserve: the Fed’s string of interest rate hikes this year have driven up the dollar, but this may be coming to an end, supporting China’s currency