Will China’s $50,000 Quota Matter For Bitcoin After Jan.1?

As the first day of January 2017 approaches, concerns that the yuan will likely depreciate further in the coming year because of the Chinese government’s enforced capital control may force more users seeking to move money out of the country to Bitcoin.

January 1 is when the yearly $50,000 limit that the Chinese government permits citizens as the amount of money individuals can move out of the country in a year comes to effect. This measure enables many Chinese to pull their money out of China.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese citizens have been bypassing the country’s limit of converting $50,000 a person per year by enlisting friends, relatives and even employees to send out cash on their behalf.

It also reported that this process of evading government’s controls has become a cause of worry not only in China but to bankers and regulators in other countries.

The 2017 outlook is a little different from previous years because of the continuous outflow of money out of the country despite the government’s efforts to reassure investors over economic slowdown, wild swings in the stock market and a sudden devaluation of the yuan in August.

Investment bank China International Capital Corp (CICC) notes in a recent study that the average daily turnover of China’s foreign exchange market has increased by 12% from the US$30.5 bln daily average in November to US$34.2 bln as of Dec. 19.

Other reports say China’s end of year cash deficit and the capital outflows as well as the bond default have created some form of cash shortages and ramped up counterparty risk.

Considered in line with China introducing tighter capital control measures in November, there are now concerns that the government may probably reduce the $50,000 yearly limit to a low $10,000. This may push Chinese investors to find alternative means such as using Bitcoin to move money out.

Another view is that if the annual quota – that sees a huge conversion of yuan to foreign exchange – is maintained, the exported Chinese money can flood other markets leading to a slight US dollar crash which may still push many to Bitcoin.

Whichever way, it is not clear what will become of the $50,000 quota.

On the other hand, what would likely happen as the capital outflow continues and the Chinese foreign exchange reserves shrinks to about US$3.05 tln (from US$3.99 tln in June 2014) as the People’s Bank of China spend to defend the yuan would determine the extent that Bitcoin will reach as from January 1.

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