Yuan climbs to 2016 high as PBOC raises most in four months
BEIJING: The onshore yuan advanced to the strongest level since December after China's central bank raised its daily reference rate by the most in four months. The magnitude of the fixing increase surprised Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., with senior currency strategist Khoon Goh putting it down largely to a euro rally and dollar decline overnight. The European currency jumped the most since Feb. 3 after central bank President Mario Draghi said he didn't see any need to cut interest rates further, while a gauge of dollar strength fell 0.54 percent.
The yuan climbed 0.13 percent to 6.4993 a dollar as of 5:08 p.m. in Shanghai, according to China Foreign Exchange Trade System prices. It rose to 6.4866 earlier, the strongest level since Dec. 29. The offshore rate in Hong Kong gained 0.13 percent to 6.4963. The People's Bank of China raised its fixing, which restricts onshore moves to 2 percent on either side, by 0.34 percent to 6.4905.
"The fixing and yuan moves reflect euro strength and dollar weakness overnight, as well as Chinese officials' anticipation for further strength in non-dollar major currencies," said Christy Tan, head of markets strategy at National Australia Bank Ltd. in Hong Kong. "The new yuan index continued its downward drift after falling below 99 in early February, and this is in line with the authorities' aim of keeping the currency stable but allow gradual weakness against the basket."
A Bloomberg replica of the CFETS RMB Index, which was unveiled in December and measures the yuan against 13 currencies, was trading within a 99-101 range for nine weeks. It was last at 98.8 on Friday. One-month implied volatility in the yuan, a measure of expected exchange-rate swings used to price options, rose nine basis points to 5.32 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That's the biggest increase in a week. The government will release key data on Saturday and PBOC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan and his top deputies will hold an annual press conference.