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Yuan hits firmest to dollar in 19 years

(Shanghai Daily)

09:48, April 02, 2013

THE yuan rose to the strongest in 19 years against the US dollar yesterday after official data showed China's manufacturing grew in March at the fastest pace in 11 years.

The yuan yesterday firmed 0.05 percent to 6.2080 per dollar in Shanghai after briefly hitting 6.2073, the firmest since China unified the yuan's market and official rates at the end of 1993.

It is also the third time the yuan has breached a record since March 25.

The People's Bank of China yesterday set the central parity rate at 6.2674 per dollar, the strongest since May 2, 2012. The yuan can trade between 1 percent on each side of the central parity rate.

The appreciation was in tandem with a recovery of manufacturing activities in China as the Purchasing Managers' Index was 50.9 in March, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said yesterday. The PMI is at the highest since April 2012 and above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

A Shanghai-based trader, who declined to be identified, said companies tend to sell foreign exchange on hopes the yuan will appreciate as China's manufacturing growth stabilizes and demand for yuan-denominated assets rises.

Latest data showed the PBOC and commercial banks bought 683.7 billion yuan equivalent of foreign exchange in January, above the total amount last year.

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