China's state media warns Soros on betting against yuan, HK dollar

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's state media has warned billionaire investor George Soros against betting on falls in the value of the Chinese yuan CNY=CFXS and Hong Kong dollar HKD=, amid widespread worries over the health of world's second-largest economy.

Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros speaks during a discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York, September 27, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

China’s fourth-quarter economic growth slowed to the weakest since the global financial crisis, increasing pressure on a government struggling to regain investors’ confidence after perceived policy missteps jolted global markets.

“Soros’ challenge against the renminbi (yuan) and Hong Kong dollar is unlikely to succeed, there is no doubt about that,” the People’s Daily overseas edition said in a front-page opinion piece on Tuesday.

China’s economic fundamentals remain sound, despite slower growth, volatility in its stock market and the yuan’s depreciation against the U.S. dollar, said the opinion piece, written by a researcher at the commerce ministry.

Soros told Bloomberg TV on Thursday he sees a hard landing for China’s economy contributing to global deflation.

In his comments to Bloomberg, Soros said he had been betting against the S&P 500, commodity-producing countries and Asian currencies, while buying U.S. government bonds. He did not specifically mention the yuan and Hong Kong dollar.

China’s economic growth slowed to 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter, bringing the full-year growth to 6.9 percent in 2015 - the poorest showing in 25 years.

The Xinhua news agency also warned against speculation on China’s stocks and currency, saying that smart, far-sighted investors should seize the opportunities from China’s economic restructuring.

“Some people believe that the Chinese capital market is experiencing a major crisis, of which they try to take advantage with speculative actions and even vicious shorting activities,” Xinhua said in a commentary published on Saturday.

China has been constantly improving its market regulatory system and legal system, it said.

“As a result, reckless speculation and vicious shorting will face higher trading costs and possibly severe legal consequences.”

China’s central bank has pledged to keep the yuan basically stable against a basket of currencies while Hong Kong’s central bank has said it had no plans to change the Hong Kong dollar’s peg to the U.S. dollar, despite recent market volatility.

Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore