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China’s Bid To Bring Cash Back Home Will Impact These 3 Places

Slowing Chinese capital flight will addle property investments in Western college towns — and in Vancouver.

By January, more than 1,000 bank ATMs in Macau had installed face-recognition cameras to identify customers who might transfer large sums of money outside China. Money changes hands quickly in Macau thanks to the massive casino industry, but the decision was taken in part to Beijing’s drive to stop its citizens from parking money outside the country where they feel it’s safe from legal detection or capital market volatility. China worries that too much loss of that money, a trend called capital flight, will devalue the Chinese yuan and undermine economic stability that hinges partly on a strong foreign exchange reserve.

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Outflows totaled just $408 billion last year, down 54% compared to 2016, according to data from the French investment bank Natixis. The Beijing government has aggressively tried to stop the flows since November 2016, and not only through the 90% of Macau ATMs that use face recognition. While China may be bringing cash back, the overseas destinations where the money’s been parked will retrench as they get less of it. Here are the most likely places to feel the impact.

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