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Yuan Near a Two-Week High on Optimism China’s Growth Rebounding

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Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The yuan traded near a two-week high after the World Bank said China’s economy may have “bottomed out” after a seven-quarter slowdown.

The lender raised its estimate for next year’s growth in the world’s second-largest economy to 8.4 percent from an October projection of 8.1 percent, according to a report yesterday. China’s railway fixed-asset investment may rise “slightly” in 2013 to as much as 700 billion yuan ($112 billion), China Securities Journal reported today. U.S. stocks fell yesterday on concern lawmakers are struggling to agree on budget changes.

“China’s growth is showing signs of resilience and the government sees boosting growth as top priority, which is positive for the yuan,” said Kenix Lai, a Hong Kong-based foreign-exchange analyst at Bank of East Asia Ltd. “Yet, the currency may consolidate recent gains on uncertainties over the U.S. budget.”

The yuan was little changed at 6.2302 per dollar at the close in Shanghai, It climbed to 6.2275 earlier, approaching a two-week high of 6.2242 touched yesterday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The currency has gained 0.88 percent this quarter, extending this year’s advance to 1.03 percent.

The People’s Bank of China lowered the reference rate by 0.02 percent to 6.28770 per dollar today, the first weakening in four days. The spot rate is allowed to trade as much as 1 percent on either side of the fixing.

Offshore Market

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority injected HK$4.5 billion ($581 million) into its banking system yesterday to prevent the city’s currency from rising beyond its permitted trading range. The aggregate balance will increase to HK$251 billion tomorrow.

In Hong Kong’s offshore market, the yuan slipped 0.1 percent to 6.2115 per dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Twelve-month non-deliverable forwards fell 0.05 percent to 6.3153, a 1.3 percent discount to the onshore spot rate.

One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in exchange rates used to price options, has fallen 98 basis points, or 0.98 percentage point, to 1.75 percent this year. That’s lower than the past five years’ average of 2.36 percent. The gauge was little changed today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fion Li in Hong Kong at fli59@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Regan at jregan19@bloomberg.net

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