Sunday 22 January 2017

Latest data from Beijing helps calm world markets

Samuel Shen and Nathaniel Taplin

Published 14/01/2016 | 02:30

A woman plays cards with other investors at a brokerage house in Beijing. Photo: AP
A woman plays cards with other investors at a brokerage house in Beijing. Photo: AP

China's central bank held the line on its yuan currency for a fourth straight session yesterday while putting the squeeze on offshore sellers of the currency, calming fears of a sustained depreciation - at least for now.

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Having been alarmed by a near 5pc slide in the yuan since August, investors globally appeared relieved by the stabilisation.

Asian share markets outside China rose, and proxies for the yuan in currency markets, such as the Australian dollar, also firmed, while investors retreated from the safe-haven yen.

Chinese shares, however, ended the day sharply lower after a positive start, shrugging off December trade data, which beat forecasts and tempered some of the fears about the slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) fixed the daily mid-point for the yuan at 6.5630 to the dollar, little changed from firm fixes on the previous two days. The market is allowed to deviate 2pc either side of the daily fix.

By early evening the onshore spot rate had firmed to 6.5742 from the overnight close of 6.5756, and offshore the yuan was just a few pips away at 6.5736, also firmer.

The central bank has used aggressive intervention to force a huge leap in yuan borrowing rates in Hong Kong, making it expensive to speculate against the currency offshore. (Reuters)

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