George Soros in China’s Crosshairs After Predicting Tough Economic Times Ahead – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China is putting a face on the economic pessimism it accuses of helping weaken the yuan and the economy: billionaire investor George Soros.

A front-page commentary published in some editions of People’s Daily on Tuesday appeared to warn Mr. Soros would lose any bets he made based on a recent prediction that hard economic times for China are “unavoidable.”

Other state media followed suit. Denouncing “radical speculators,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency dismissed the famed currency trader’s view as “the same prediction several times.” The Global Times, in its English edition, asked, “So why are so many Western pundits and media outlets so intent on talking China down?”

The rhetorical shots come as China is making broader efforts with market interventions and rule adjustments to offset the impact of its slowest growth rate in a quarter century, shore up grinding stock markets and stem surging capital outflows. China’s state-run media regularly note concerns the economy is cooling, but they tend to highlight positive aspects of what the government describes as a broad economic restructuring.

The uniformity and prominent placement in government-run media of the challenges to foreign critics, including economists quoted by Western newspapers, appear to suggest growing concern in Beijing that negative sentiment is spreading.

State media warnings directed at private individuals like Mr. Soros are rare. But his legend as an investor stems from a career making profitable currency bets – both real and rumored – that are widely studied in China. It comes just as China’s central bank is taking steps to limit flight from the Chinese yuan by its huge middle class.

Suspicion in China that Mr. Soros is now placing bets against the yuan follow comments he made last week at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. “A hard-landing is practically unavoidable,” Mr. Soros told Bloomberg Television. “I’m not expecting it, I’m observing it.”

“Declaring war on China’s currency? Ha,” said the People’s Daily commentary, which appeared in the overseas edition, a newspaper aimed at Chinese living outside China. The paper serves as the official purveyor of Communist Party views, and the commentary was authored by a researcher at China’s Commerce Ministry. It wasn’t published in the domestic editions, though it did appear online.

Source: George Soros in China’s Crosshairs After Predicting Tough Economic Times Ahead – China Real Time Report – WSJ

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