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Yuan touches 26-month low, deviation from guidance at widest since 2020


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SHANGHAI — China’s yuan weakened to a

26-month low against a rising dollar on Wednesday, ahead of a

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U.S. Federal Reserve decision on policy settings, while its

deviation from official guidance hit its widest since the early

COVID-19 outbreaks in 2020.

Depreciation pressure is mounting on the yuan with several

overseas central banks expected to aggressively raise interest

rates this week to tame high inflation. The Federal Reserve is

widely expected to deliver another 75-basis-point rate rise

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later on Wednesday.

The Fed’s monetary tightening trajectory could affect its

peers’ decisions and major currencies. Its widening divergence

with the Chinese central bank, which has kept rates low, has

piled particular pressure on the yuan.

Prior to the market opening, the PBOC continued to set a

firmer-than-expected official midpoint fixing to slow

the yuan’s decline.

The guidance was set at 6.9536 per dollar, 68 pips weaker

than the previous fix of 6.9468, the softest since Aug. 12,

2020.

In the spot market, the onshore yuan rate opened

at 7.0278 per dollar and slumped to a low of 7.0460, the softest

level since July 6, 2020. By midday, it was changing hands at

7.0442, down 266 pips from the previous late session close.

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Its offshore counterpart followed suit and weakened

past 7.05 per dollar for first time since July 2020. It traded

at 7.0502 around midday.

“As the gap between the spot and fix is widened, we

anticipate depreciation pressure could increase should the spot

reach the upper bound of the trading band,” analysts at Maybank

said in a note.

The gap between onshore yuan and the official midpoint stood

at 906 pips, the widest since Feb 2020.

The spot yuan rate is only allowed to trade in a narrow 2%

range around the daily midpoint, and Wednesday’s guidance kept

the range to 6.8145 to 7.0927.

Some currency traders said the yuan weakness may persist for

the time being, weighed down by the Fed’s hawkish rate hikes.

“Markets will closely watch the Fed remarks after the rate

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decision for more clues on the future trajectory,” said a trader

at a foreign bank.

The yuan market at 0402 GMT:

ONSHORE SPOT:

Item Current Previous Change

PBOC midpoint 6.9536 6.9468 -0.10%

Spot yuan 7.0442 7.0176 -0.38%

Divergence from 1.30%

midpoint*

Spot change YTD -9.78%

Spot change since 2005 17.49%

revaluation

Key indexes:

Item Current Previous Change

Thomson 0.0

Reuters/HKEX

CNH index

Dollar index 110.234 110.215 0.0

*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 percent from official midpoint rate it sets each

morning.

OFFSHORE CNH MARKET

Instrument Current Difference

from onshore

Offshore spot yuan 7.0502 -0.09%

*

Offshore 6.932 0.31%

non-deliverable

forwards

**

*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 Edmund

Klamann)

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