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Currency wars: Who’s next to pull the trigger?

“Sadly, there is a danger of a race to the bottom here… I think there will be competitive devaluation going on,” Julian Chillingworth, chief investment officer at Rathbone Brothers, told CNBC on Friday.

The loosening of fixed currency regimes is an ongoing trend, with Russia, which is suffering its own economic strife, widening its foreign exchange trading band in August last year.

However, the rout in oil and the fear that China, which is a major importer of commodities, is in economic difficulties, appears to be spurring exporters of basic resources to devalue their currencies in order to remain competitive and retain revenue.

Notably, Kazakstan’s main exports are crude petroleum, petroleum gas and refined copper, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). Its biggest importers are China and Russia.

Chillingworth named South Africa, Turkey and South Korea as contenders to devalue their currencies in the near future.

South Africa, which was overtaken last year by Nigeria as the continent’s biggest economy, is a major exporter of precious metals, particularly gold, platinum and diamonds. As for Kazakstan, China remains South Africa’s main export destination, along with Western Europe and the U.S., according to the OEC.

Turkey’s biggest export is also gold, while China is the major importer of South Korean products.


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