Yuan Strengthens, But Asian Stocks Plunge

For the first time in seventeen years the yuan has surpassed 6.4 per dollar, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s efforts to keep interest rates low. According to the International Monetary Fund, the stronger yuan will help governments reduce inflation and rebalance the nation’s development, as well as stabilize the global economy.

“The inflation and trade data, together with the Fed’s policy to maintain extremely low interest rates, have fueled faster appreciation,” explained Banny Lam of CCB International Securities in Hong Kong. “Strong economic growth, supported by the latest export figures, also provides investors with confidence to buy the yuan in these turbulent times.”

However, the European debt crisis has had a negative effect on the positive turns in Asia. In countries such as Japan, stocks have suffered severe losses. Mazda Motor Corp, the Japanese carmaker, is one of many companies highly dependent on Europe. Mazda has slumped 4.3 percent, while Canon Inc., Nikon Corp. and numerous others have met similar fates.

“As Europe’s debt crisis spreads, concern is mounting about damage to the financial system,” explains Mitsushige Akino at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. “We may slip back into a global equity slump.”