George Soros warned by Beijing that ‘war on the renminbi’ will fail

Billionaire investor says China is ‘root cause’ of this year’s global bear market

George Soros, the man who famously broke the pound, has been warned off going to "war on the renminbi" by ­Beijing, as China's authorities again ­confronted tumbling stocks and accelerating capital flight.

The warning, on the front page of China’s Communist party mouthpiece, comes as Beijing struggles to stem capital outflows and support its currency. China’s policy response – through intervention to prop up the renminbi – has already scythed its foreign reserves by about $700 billion over the past 18 months to $3.3 trillion.

"Soros's war on the renminbi and the Hong Kong dollar cannot possibly succeed – about this there can be no doubt," read the opinion piece in the People's Daily, which was penned by a commerce ministry researcher.

Mr Soros, a billionaire investor, told Bloomberg TV last week that he had bet against the S&P 500, Asian currencies and commodity-linked economies, while going long on US treasuries.

Root cause

He mentioned neither the renminbi nor the Hong Kong dollar in his remarks last week but he did say

China

was the “root cause” of this year’s global bear market, citing deflation and excessive debt as key issues.

Chinese officials and state media have sought to damped speculation that a slowing economy might force Beijing into a destabilising devaluation.

The authorities are also trying to manage the risks posed by a falling stock market. Chinese equities sank to a 13-month low after the Shanghai Composite tumbled 6.4 per cent yesterday.

The Chinese currency has fallen 5.7 per cent against the US dollar since policymakers shocked global markets in August when they granted the renminbi more flexibility to depreciate.

Downward pressure has been building on the renminbi as capital leaves the country at a record pace. Data released yesterday showed over-invoicing of Chinese exports – a common method for taking money out of the mainland – had ramped up again last month

In an English-language editorial on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency criticised “those who want to bet on the ‘ultimate failure’ of the Chinese economy”. The article warned that “reckless speculations and vicious shorting will face higher trading costs and possibly severe legal consequences”.

An adviser to Chinese president Xi Jinping said in Davos last week that China was not seeking a weaker currency. – (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016