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Sat, Apr 30, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Beijing official quashes rumors of revaluing the yuan

AP AND BLOOMBERG , BEIJING

China does not plan to revalue the yuan during next week's Labor Day holiday, a central bank spokesman said yesterday, quashing rumors that such a change was imminent.

"As far as we know, there's no adjustment expected in the yuan exchange rate," Bai Li (白力), spokesman for the People's Bank of China (中國人民銀行), told Dow Jones Newswires.

A brief wave of speculation over a possible shift in currency policy roiled regional share and currency markets yesterday. Such rumors have been circulating in the past week, despite official denials that major changes were pending.

A key measure of expectations for the yuan's future value, discounts on US dollar/yuan non-deliverable forwards (NDFs), widened sharply to 4800/4200 from 4300/4150 yesterday morning amid revived speculation over a possible revaluation.

The NDF discount rate does not affect the yuan's actual value.

Bai yesterday declined to comment on the movement, saying: "It's up to the market to explain any market activities."

Authorities sometimes choose to announce policy changes during public holidays, and China's financial markets will be closed next week for the national holiday.

China limits trading in the yuan and has kept its value in a narrow range near 8.28 yuan per US dollar since 1994.

The US and other nations say the yuan is undervalued, giving China's exporters an unfair price advantage.

Beijing says it will eventually let the yuan trade freely on world markets, but that doing so immediately would damage the country's frail banks and financial industries.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co predicted China will loosen its decade-old peg to the US dollar next week.

Gong spoke after the Chinese central bank let the yuan strengthen to 8.2700 per US dollar, the most since the currency was fixed at around 8.3 per US dollar in 1995. The central bank then sold yuan to weaken it to 8.2775. The currency is currently allowed to trade 0.3 percent above and below 8.2770 per US dollar.

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