The National Law Forum

The Blog of the The National Law Review

China Devalues the Yuan in Biggest Single-Day Markdown in 20 Years

The People’s Bank of China—the country’s central bank—devalued its notoriously tightly controlled currency (Chinese Renminbi) by 1.9 percent against the U.S. dollar between Monday night and Tuesday morning, Aug. 11, 2015. Such devaluation represents the greatest single-day markdown since 1994, following years of international political rhetoric concerning China’s exchange rate control.

Precisely because the Chinese government kept the yuan tied to a strong dollar, the exports of other countries have become more competitive as their currencies have fallen against the yuan over the past year. This has resulted in a weakening export sector, upon which the Chinese economy is very much dependent. Other contributing factors to the currency devaluation are the country’s slowing, albeit still net-positive, second-quarter GDP in comparison to prior years and, perhaps, a desire to reign in capital outflows from China, which totaled $162 billion for the first half of this year alone. Add to this backdrop the fact that the central bank has repeatedly cut interest rates to boost lending and spur a slowing economy over the past year, thereby also decreasing returns on domestic investments and forcing investors to look outwardly for higher yields.

While Beijing is focused on the country’s growth and macroeconomic prosperity, the move raises questions as to how a weaker yuan will affect the very active market of Chinese foreign investors.

However, the question now is how the devaluation of the yuan will impact foreign direct investment by Chinese in the real estate sector and as well in EB-5 investments.

©2015 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved.

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