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Global Markets: Asia shares hit 17-month low, China lets yuan slip

Asian shares hit 17-month lows on Tuesday as China allowed its currency to slip past a psychological bulwark amid recent losses in domestic share markets, a shift that pressured other emerging currencies.

The Pakistani rupee plunged about 5 percent in an apparent devaluation by the central bank, market participants said.

The IMF added to the malaise by cutting forecasts of global growth for both this year and next, including downgrades to the outlook for the United States, China and Europe.

“Risk sentiment is in a foul mood and stocks are sinking everywhere,” JPMorgan analysts said in a note.

“With Chinese economic momentum continuing to weaken alongside increasing pressure from the United States, currency weakness is the obvious release valve,” they warned. “A lurch through the 7.0 level by year end is possible.”

China’s central bank fixed its yuan at 6.9019 per dollar on Tuesday, so breaching the 6.9000 barrier and leading speculators to push the dollar up to 6.9120 in the spot market.

The drop should be a positive for exporters and did help Shanghai blue chips edge up 0.3 percent. Yet that follows a 4.3 percent slide on Monday which was the largest daily drop since early 2016.

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Maria Wilson

Maria Wilson

Author Maria Wilson writes the weekly “Tech Talk” column about technology, scams, and security risks which pose a threat to Chester Report. She manages the circulation of both papers, as well as legal and classifieds advertising.

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