Bank of China weakens yuan to 8-year low
CHINA weakened the yuan’s fix against the dollar to an almost eight-year low yesterday as the surging dollar put further pressure on the unit. The central People’s Bank of China set the value of the yuan – also known as the renminbi – at 6.8495 to the greenback, down 0.30 percent from the previous day’s fixing, according to data from the Foreign Exchange Trade System.
The unit has reached a series of six-year lows in recent weeks in the face of a greenback rising on expectations of sharper US interest rate hikes, with President-elect Donald Trump pledging to ramp up spending and cut taxes.
But yesterday’s fix was the weakest since December 2008, and beyond the roughly 6.83 level at which Beijing virtually pegged the unit for nine months in 2009-10.
China only allows the yuan to rise or fall 2pc on either side of the daily fix, one of the ways it maintains control over the currency.
During the US presidential campaign Mr Trump repeatedly accused China of keeping the yuan undervalued to boost exports and make imports from the US more costly, and has threatened to declare Beijing a currency manipulator once he is in office.
But analysts and officials say that Beijing is now intervening in the opposite direction, and trying to prop up the unit’s value against a strengthening greenback.
The US Treasury in October cleared China of keeping the yuan cheap for trade advantages, saying the currency could have fallen more had Beijing not acted. Barclays forecasts that the onshore yuan will fall to 7.15 against the dollar by the end of the third quarter next year.
The bank’s Singapore-based head of Asia FX and rates strategy Mitul Kotech said the yuan was basically tracking moves by the dollar.
The onshore yuan was quoted at 6.8586 in trading yesterday, 0.26 percent weaker than November 14’s close of 6.8409.