Yuan Deposits in Hong Kong Climb to Record on Currency Optimism

Yuan deposits in Hong Kong climbed to a record in April amid bets China will accelerate exchange-rate reforms, spurring currency gains.

Savings rose 9 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) from March to 677 billion yuan, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said in a statement on its website today. It was the seventh monthly increase in a row and the smallest gain since October.

People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Yi Gang said last month that authorities will widen the yuan’s daily trading band “in the near future.” The Chinese currency is the 13th most-used in the world, figures from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication show. China completed its once-a-decade leadership transition in March, with Xi Jinping becoming the nation’s president.

“There’s stronger expectation yuan internationalization will accelerate following the power handover,” said Ho Man Chun, economist and strategist at Bank of Communications Co.’s Hong Kong branch.S

The yuan in Shanghai will appreciate 2.1 percent this year to 6.10 per dollar, after 2012’s 1 percent advance, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

Hong Kong handled 275.4 billion yuan of trade settled in the Chinese currency in April, a 19 percent decrease from March, HKMA data show.

China is looking into possible fraud relating to data on exports to Hong Kong, Zheng Yuesheng, a spokesman for the government’s customs administration, said last month, after a 93 percent increase in such shipments in March that was the biggest in 18 years. The validity of the data has been questioned by economists at financial institutions including Bank of America Corp. and Nomura Holdings Inc.

The falsification of trade declarations does happen “but is definitely not mainstream,” Zheng said.

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