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RMB has better conditions to remain relatively stable: CFETS

Updated: Jan 10,2017 10:50 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Chinese currency is in better shape to remain basically at equilibrium while improving the flexibility of exchange rates, supported by improved growth quality and deepening reforms, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS).

STRONGER FUNDAMENTALS

“Positive changes and bright spots continue growing in the Chinese economy, and the economy is stabilizing with improved quality and structure,” a commentator’s article on the CFETS website said on Jan 9.

In the first three quarters in 2016, GDP growth stood at 6.7 percent, within the government’s target of between 6.5 and 7 percent, outshining most major economies.

With deepening reform and opening up of the financial market, the expected accumulation of RMB assets by overseas investors will gradually play a conducive role to capital inflow into China, said the article.

The Central Economic Work Conference last month pledged to push forward supply-side structural reform in 2017, and the deepening reform, together with improved quality and efficiency of economy, will strengthen RMB fundamentals.

The article said the global market is relatively complex, and US President-elect Donald Trump’s policies will require observation. Despite market expectations of further strengthening of the US dollar, it cannot be ruled out that the dollar will decline.

STABLE AGAINST BASKET

The CFETS yuan exchange rate composite index, known as the CFETS RMB Index, measures the yuan’s strength relative to a basket of currencies including the dollar, euro and Japanese yen. The index firmed to 94.83 on Dec 30, up 0.16 percent from the end of November 2016.

The index compared the yuan to the value of 13 currencies at the end of 2016. The basket was expanded to 24 currencies this year, covering more of China’s trading partners.

Another two such indices — BIS Currency Basket RMB Index and SDR Currency Basket RMB Index — gained 0.3 percent to 96.24 and strengthened 0.25 percent to 95.5 respectively over the period.

Generally speaking, the three indices remained stable with some upticks over past months, moving within a narrow band. CFETS RMB Index has been on the rise since October and hit a near five month high of 95.09 on Dec 23.

The dollar was bolstered by factors including upbeat US economic data, optimism of observers concerning Trump’s policies, and expectations of an interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve in 2017, but the RMB depreciated less against the dollar than other major currencies in past weeks, said the article.

Since the Fed raised benchmark interest rates in mid-December, the central parity rate of the RMB depreciated 0.63 percent against the dollar, less than 1.03 percent slide of the euro, 2.51 percent depreciation of the pound sterling, and 1.51 percent slide of the Japanese yen against the dollar.

The commentary came as the central parity rate of the yuan, weakened 594 basis points to 6.9262 against the dollar on Jan 9 after strengthening 639 basis points to 6.8668 on Jan 6.

The CFETS is affiliated with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank.

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