DBS, StanChart among banks hit with Chinese currency curbs

A customer holding a 100 yuan note at a market in Beijing.
A customer holding a 100 yuan note at a market in Beijing.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE/LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - DBS Group Holdings and Standard Chartered are among banks suspended from some foreign- exchange business in China, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Standard Chartered has appealed to China's central bank to shorten a ban running through March, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because they're not authorized to speak publicly.

DBS's ban is shorter than three months, another person said.

China's decision to suspend Standard Chartered was reported earlier by Reuters, which also cited Deutsche Bank among lenders banned. All three banks declined to comment.

The suspensions coincide with turmoil in Chinese markets. The CSI 300 Index plunged 7.2 per cent before trading was halted by automatic circuit breakers on Thursday, while the onshore yuan weakened 0.6 per cent versus the US dollar to a five-year low.

Standard Chartered's shares fell 4.1 per cent as of 11:48 am in Hong Kong, where the benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 2.4 per cent. In Singapore, DBS was down 1.9 per cent.

Suspensions on settling offshore clients' yuan transactions in the onshore market were imposed last month by the People's Bank of China, people familiar with the matter have said. The clampdown came as the growing offshore-onshore spread made it profitable to buy the currency in Hong Kong and sell it in Shanghai.