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Markets

China's yuan firms on dollar weakness, stronger guidance

  • The global dollar index fell to 91.784 from the previous close of 91.814.
Published March 11, 2021
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SHANGHAI: The Chinese yuan firmed on Thursday as the greenback softened after benign US inflation data and as China's central bank guided the local currency higher.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint rate at 6.497 per dollar prior to market open, 136 pips firmer than the previous fix of 6.5106.

In the spot market, the yuan opened at 6.4950 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.4986 around midday, 77 pips firmer than the previous late session close.

The offshore yuan was trading at 6.502 per dollar.

The dollar nursed losses against most currencies on Thursday after benign data on US consumer prices and a decline in Treasury yields led some investors to trim bets on a rapid acceleration in inflation.

Traders said the dollar weakness provided support for the yuan.

"The yuan would remain range-bound around the current levels," said a trader at a Chinese bank.

But some analysts said China's yuan could face downward pressure as other economies bounce back from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The yuan correction could last for at least two quarters, as the economic recovery of other countries would also pick up as vaccines become more available," said Wang Jianhui, chief economist at Capital Securities.

"The level that truly reflects the yuan's fundamentals would be between 6.5 per dollar and 6.8 per dollar," Wang added.

Meanwhile, data showed new bank lending in China fell in February from January as the central bank seeks to cool credit growth, but by less than expected.

"The improvement of credit structure pointed to the robust financial stability, and we reckon that the PBOC is in no rush to tighten its monetary policy stance for now," Ken Cheung, strategist at Mizuho Bank Ltd, said in a note.

Eyes were also on the development of Sino-US relations.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with top Chinese officials on March 18 in Alaska, the White House said on Wednesday, the first high-level in-person contact between the two sparring countries under the Biden administration.

The Thomson Reuters/HKEX Global CNH index, which tracks the offshore yuan against a basket of currencies on a daily basis, stood at 96.86, weaker than the previous day's 96.98.

The global dollar index fell to 91.784 from the previous close of 91.814.

Offshore one-year non-deliverable forwards contracts (NDFs), considered the best available proxy for forward-looking market expectations of the yuan's value, traded at 6.6771, 2.70% away from the midpoint.

One-year NDFs are settled against the midpoint, not the spot rate.

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