China's currency, the yuan, hit a new high against the U.S. dollar on Monday, after reaching a central parity rate of 7.7306 yuan to the dollar, according to the Chinese Foreign Exchange Trading System.
The yuan, also known as Renminbi (RMB), gained 36 basis points from Friday's reference rate of 7.7342 to the U.S. dollar, and has strengthened 781 points since the beginning of the year when it closed at 7.8087 yuan to the dollar on the last trading day of 2006.
The value of the RMB has risen about five percent since July 21, 2005, when the Chinese government launched reforms of the exchange rate system. The yuan to allowed to float against the U.S. dollar within a daily band of 0.3 percent.
The yuan climbed to 7.7386 yuan to the U.S. dollar, breaking the 7.74 mark for the first time on March 8 this year.
The United States has long called on the Chinese government to allow its currency to float more freely on exchange markets, saying the currency is undervalued and gives Chinese exporters an edge in foreign trade.
Wu Xiaoling, vice governor of the country's central bank, said on Sunday that the Chinese government will continue to allow more flexibility but imbalances in the world economy should not be blamed on the value of the RMB.
Wu also said the Chinese government would adjust the export rebate system and related customs policies to address China's growing trade surplus.
China's February trade surplus soared nearly tenfold compared with the same month last year, hitting 23.76 billion U.S. dollars.
The yuan gained 68 basis points to reach a central parity rate of 0.98993 yuan to the Hong Kong Dollar on Monday, and gained 14 basis points to reach a central parity rate of 0.065525 yuan to the Japanese Yen.
The yuan also closed down 287 basis points to hit 15.2087 yuan to the British Pound, and lost 62 basis points to end the day at 10.3130 yuan to the euro.