China’s renewed export weakness is coinciding with a clampdown on surging home prices and corporate debt, stoking expectations policy makers will allow further yuan depreciation to buffer the economy.
Exports in September dropped the most since February amid anemic global demand, while imports declined 1.9 percent, leaving a $42 billion trade surplus. Analysts at Bank of America Corp., RBC Capital Markets and Capital Economics Ltd. estimate further depreciation for the yuan, already near a six-year low.
With S&P Global Ratings and the International Monetary Fund among those warning about the threats from rapid credit expansion, policy makers risk cooling the economy with new property restrictions. But their plan for economic growth of at least 6.5 percent this year leaves little room for maneuver. The upshot: a weaker yuan is needed to support an industrial sector that’s returning to profitability as it emerges from four years of deflation.
“China is running out of options and letting the yuan go is the lowest-cost option for them,” said Sue Trinh, head of Asia FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets in Hong Kong. “We’ve seen them move in this direction. There’s more work to do.”