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SHANGHAI: China’s yuan strengthened to a two-week high against the dollar on Tuesday and looked set to notch a fourth straight monthly gain, underpinned by persistent corporate demand and signs of liquidity tightness in the money markets.

Prior to market opening, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint at a near two-month high of 6.3794 yuan per dollar, 78 pips, or 0.12%, firmer than the previous fix of 6.3872.

The midpoint fix was largely in line with market forecasts, traders said, and it was 1 pip weaker than Reuters’ estimate of 6.3793 per dollar.

In the spot market, the onshore yuan opened at 6.3788 per dollar and rose to a high of 6.3711, the strongest level since Nov. 16. By midday, it was changing hands at 6.3716, 160 pips firmer than the previous late session close.

If the yuan finishes the late night session at the midday level, it would have gained 0.52% against the dollar for the month.

Traders said along with the firmer guidance rate and persistent corporate conversion of their dollar receipts into the local currency, the yuan also gained support in early deals from tighter cash conditions in the domestic money markets due to month-end demand.

The volume-weighted average rate of the benchmark overnight repo traded in the interbank market was at 2.1739%, the highest level since Oct. 19. And dollar/yuan swap points for the same tenor also jumped to 23.5 points from previous close of 4.8.

While investor worries over the economic impact of the new Omicron coronavirus variant ebbed, some analysts raised the possibility of the variant affecting the US Federal Reserve’s policy tightening trajectory.

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