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RMB hits record high for three days running

[ 2012-11-15 10:11] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Sustained bullish sentiment has driven China's currency, the renminbi, to a record high for three straight days, triggering expectations the yuan could reach 6.2 against the dollar by year’s end.

But some analysts are less optimistic, believing it will depreciate, following the United States presidential election and the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which closed on Wednesday.

The People's Bank of China, the central bank, has been raising the reference rate of the yuan against the dollar for seven straight days. On Wednesday, it set the midpoint at 6.2881, the highest level since May.

On the spot market, the currency soon moved to hit its strong-side limit at 6.2252 on the day, the strongest level since China opened its domestic currency market in 1994.

"We think market forces have played a much bigger role than the government in recent yuan appreciation. The third round of quantitative easing in the US, China's growth recovery, as well as a widening trade surplus, are probably among the key driving forces," said Yao Wei, China economist at Societe Generale CIB.

China's capital account is also more open than before and so currency movement becomes more self-enforced as a result of market expectations, she said.

The yuan has appreciated more than 1 percent so far this year, reversing a depreciation of as much as 1.6 percent in the year by late July.

Nathan Chow, DBS Bank's Greater China economist, said another contributing factor is that the eurozone debt crisis seems to have stabilized for now, without further signs of deterioration.

Pressure from major economies is not a major driver of the yuan's appreciation, he said.

"The ratio of current account surplus to GDP has declined to 2 percent this year, from 10 percent in 2007, reflecting that the pressure on China to appreciate the yuan is smaller than before."

He said there were expectations the yuan could reach 6.2 to the dollar by the end of the year.

But expectation of the yuan depreciating remains strong as a rebound in the world's second-largest economy - which has slowed for seven consecutive quarters - still faces challenges.

"This trend of appreciation is unlikely to be sustainable and we expect the yuan to depreciate moderately against the US dollar in December," Yao said.

Analysts also said yuan speculation has led to capital inflows into Hong Kong as investors seek ways to gain access to the mainland market.

Norman Chan, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, said in a statement on Friday that talk of so-called hot money flowing into Hong Kong from overseas investors for speculation on the yuan is unfounded.

He said overseas investors can directly buy yuan in the offshore market with US dollars if they are bullish on the appreciation of the currency.

It is impossible for such inflows to threaten China's financial stability or safety, given the country's banking system has assets worth 126 trillion yuan, he said.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

RMB hits record high for three days running

About the broadcaster:

RMB hits record high for three days running

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.