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Markets

Yuan edges up as markets take US inflation data in stride

  • The global dollar index fell to 91.763 from the previous close of 91.795.
14 Apr 2021

SHANGHAI: China's yuan firmed on Wednesday on the back of a weaker dollar and as the central bank guided the currency higher.

Prior to the market open, the People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 6.5362 per dollar, 92 pips firmer than the previous fix of 6.5454 and the strongest such guidance since March 25.

In the spot market, the yuan opened at 6.5415 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.5403 at midday, 49 pips firmer than the previous late session close.

The offshore yuan was trading at 6.5425 per dollar.

The dollar fell to multi-week lows against the euro and the yen on Wednesday after an uptick in a US consumer price gauge did not spark wider fears about accelerating inflation, pushing down US bond yields. Some analysts had worried that sharp price rises could prompt the Federal Reserve to start tapering stimulus sooner than expected.

US consumer prices rose by the most in more than 8-1/2 years in March as increased vaccinations and massive fiscal stimulus unleashed pent-up demand, kicking off what most economists expect will be a brief period of higher inflation.

"China will tighten its monetary policy in advance, in order to cope with the US Fed's possible tightening in the future, providing support for the yuan," said Bruce Yam, forex strategist at brokerage Everbright Sun Hung Kai.

China should avoid credit contraction but also keep inflation expectations from intensifying, the 21st Century Business Herald quoted central bank policy adviser Wang Yiming as saying on Tuesday.

With the Chinese economy quickly recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, the country's credit trends are being closely watched by investors who are worried about policy tightening as Beijing looks to exit from emergency measures and reduce debt risks. But policymakers have said there will be no sudden shift.

Eyes are also on the Sino-US tensions.

China and the United States should step up their communication while managing their differences and respecting each other's core interests, Premier Li Keqiang told a group of senior US executives on Tuesday.

Former US Senator Chris Dodd and former Deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and James Steinberg headed to Taiwan on Tuesday at President Joe Biden's request, in what a White House official called a "personal signal" of the president's commitment to the Chinese-claimed island and its democracy.

The Thomson Reuters/HKEX Global CNH index, which tracks the offshore yuan against a basket of currencies on a daily basis, stood at 96.36, weaker than the previous day's 96.56.

The global dollar index fell to 91.763 from the previous close of 91.795.

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 6.7235, 2.79 percent away from the midpoint.

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