SHANGHAI — China’s yuan steadied around
a four-month high against the dollar on Thursday, underpinned by
seasonal demand and signs of improving diplomatic relations with
major trade partner Australia.
Market sentiment has improved after Reuters reported, citing
sources, that China’s state planner has allowed three central
government-backed utilities and its top steelmaker to resume
coal imports from Australia, the first such move since Beijing
imposed an unofficial ban on coal trade with Canberra in 2020.
“The trade tension with Australia may see a potential thaw,”
analysts at Commerzbank said in a note.
“This also comes at a time when global competition for
energy commodities has intensified following the Russia-Ukraine
war and as China seeks to gain energy security.”
Prior to the market opening, the People’s Bank of China
(PBOC) set the midpoint rate at a fresh four-month
high of 6.8926 per dollar, 205 pips or 0.3% firmer than the
previous fix of 6.9131.
In the spot market, the onshore yuan opened at
6.8860 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.8862 at midday,
104 pips firmer than the previous late session close. It was not
far from a more than four-month high of 6.8733 hit on Tuesday.
Currency traders said heavier seasonal demand for the
Chinese currency continued to play a big role in supporting the
yuan, as exporters start to convert their FX receipts into the
local currency for various payments for orders and bonus
handouts ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.
The week-long holiday starts from Jan. 21 this year.
The traditional higher seasonal cash demand and recent
official pledges to boost the struggling economy have raised
market speculation of possible reductions to policy rates and
the amount of cash banks must set aside as reserves, traders
The liquidity shortfall in January could be around 3.3
trillion yuan ($479.34 billion), meaning that “the central bank
could cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR),” said Zhang Wei,
analyst at Founder Securities, adding there was also a
possibility of policy rate cuts.
Separately, late night trading was rather tepid after the
PBOC started to extend interbank FX trading hours from Tuesday.
China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS), which is
overseen by the central bank, said volume in the extended hours
totaled $128 million on Tuesday, according to an online
statement published on late Wednesday, about 0.43% of the whole
By midday, the global dollar index fell to 104.139
from the previous close of 104.248, while the offshore yuan
was trading at 6.8936 per dollar.
The yuan market at 0310 GMT:
Item Current Previous Change
PBOC midpoint 6.8926 6.9131 0.30%
Spot yuan 6.8862 6.8966 0.15%
Divergence from -0.09%
Spot change YTD 0.20%
Spot change since 2005 20.19%
Item Current Previous Change
Dollar index 104.139 104.248 -0.1
*Divergence of the dollar/yuan exchange rate. Negative number
indicates that spot yuan is trading stronger than the midpoint.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) allows the exchange rate to
rise or fall 2% from official midpoint rate it sets each
OFFSHORE CNH MARKET
Instrument Current Difference
Offshore spot yuan 6.8936 -0.11%
Offshore 6.7175 2.61%
*Premium for offshore spot over onshore
**Figure reflects difference from PBOC’s official midpoint,
since non-deliverable forwards are settled against the midpoint.
(Reporting by Winni Zhou and Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim