[日期:08-21] 来源:  作者: [字体: ]
  After a weak start to the year, China’s renminbi has stormed back as tactical intervention by the central bank has subsided, allowing market forces to reassert themselves.
  The currency fell for four straight months at the start of the year, its longest bear run since China established its modern foreign exchange market in 1994. But now a hefty trade surplus and renewed confidence in the macro economy are driving the market.
  At its 2014 low point of Rmb6.2593 per US dollar on April 30, the renminbi was down 3.4 per cent on the year, a disastrous performance by the standards of China’s tightly controlled currency, which has notched year-on-year gains every year since 1994 save for a small drop in 1999.
  But the currency has now risen consecutively for three months and five sessions, and by yesterday’s close had trimmed its year-to-date loss to 1.4 per cent. Last week it strengthened beyond the psychologically important Rmb6.15 barrier.
  Early this year traders observed what they believed to be the People’s Bank of China buying dollars to weaken the currency and inflict pain on speculators who had come to regard renminbi appreciation as a sure bet.
  Yu Yongding, a former member of the PBoC’s Monetary Policy Committee, told state media in May it was “difficult to imagine” that the renminbi could have fallen 3 per cent without intervention, given that China had posted surpluses on the current and capital acc?ounts in the first quarter.
  The PBoC’s anti-speculation message got through to import-export companies, whose forex activity largely determines the currency’s trajectory given tight restrictions still in place on cross-border portfolio investment.
  “Normally the trade surplus creates appreciation pressure as corporates sell dollars and buy renminbi,” says Eddie Cheung, forex strategist with Standard Chartered in Hong Kong. “But in the first part of the year corporates lost confidence in the appreciation story and started holding their foreign trade receipts in dollar deposits rather than converting.”
  “正常情况下,贸易顺差会造成升值压力,因为企业会卖出美元,买进人民币,”香港渣打银行(Standard Chartered)外汇策略师Eddie Cheung说。“但在今年上半年,企业对升值前景失去信心,开始以美元存款的形式持有外贸收入,而不再兑换为人民币。”
  Indeed, foreign exchange deposits at onshore Chinese banks rose $155bn in the first half of 2014, far above the $32bn gain for the whole of 2013.
  Before the PBoC’s action the lure of risk-free forex gains – which came on top of interest rates on renminbi assets higher than the rock-bottom yields in developed markets – had made dollar and euro carry trades an attractive prospect for those who could execute them.
  China’s capital controls prevent punters from directly pouring money into domestic financial markets, but creative speculators have long devised ways to skirt them.
  One popular method was to inflate export invoices on difficult-to-value goods such as electronic circuits, in order to book speculative cash as trade receipts and convert dollars to renminbi under the current account.
  But once the currency had weakened beyond Rmb6.25, traders say, the PBoC reversed and began guiding it stronger, probably fearing that excessive depreciation would undermine confidence and lead to capital outflow.
  Since 2012, central bank officials have said they intend to reduce intervention in the foreign exchange market. In March, regulators doubled the currency’s daily trading band to 2 per cent on either side of the daily guidance rate published by the PBoC.
  But the rhetoric of liberalisation has contrasted with the reality of intervention.
  “When the PBoC talks about reducing intervention, that’s going to happen gradually,” says a forex trader at a Chinese commercial bank in Shanghai.
  Nevertheless, the PBoC’s withdrawal from the market has restored fundamental supply and demand forces to the driver’s seat.
  Government efforts to stabilise economic growth, which helped deliver solid 7.5 per cent GDP growth in the second quarter, boosted confidence in the economy.
  Ironically, however, signs of weakness in the domestic economy are also helping to drive renminbi?appreciation. Demand for Chinese exports has been strong as the US economy gathers steam, while imports have lagged behind on weak domestic demand. That has increased the trade surplus.
  The current account surplus peaked at 10.1 per cent of GDP in 2007 and has since fallen for five of the past six years, hitting 2 per cent in 2013. But China posted its largest monthly trade surplus on record in July, and it is up 20 per cent in the first seven months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.
  Traders expect the renminbi to appreciate until the end of the year to about Rmb6.05. After that the picture gets murky. Once the US Fed begins raising interest rates, some money that had chased high yields in China is likely to exit.
  目前交易员预测人民币年内将持续升值,到年底达到1美元兑6.05元人民币左右。之后的走势则不太明朗。一旦美联储(US Fed)开始提高利率,一些在中国境内追逐高收益率的资金可能会撤出。
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