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Chinese yuan hits week-long high after Biden, Xi make second phone call




    SHANGHAI, Sept 10 (Reuters) - China's yuan touched a
one-week high against the dollar on Friday and looked set for
its third straight weekly gain after U.S. President Joe Biden
and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping discussed the need to
manage competition between their countries and avoid conflict.
    Relations between Washington and Beijing have been at their
lowest point in decades and it was only the second call between
the leaders since Biden took office in January. The conversation
focused on economic issues, climate change and COVID-19, a
senior U.S. official said.
    "Signs of willingness to nudge bilateral conversations onto
a more serious path could be a net positive for regional risk
assets, but spillovers to sentiments could be constrained
without more discernible translation to policy changes,"
analysts at Maybank said in a note.
    Prior to the market opening, the People's Bank of China set
the midpoint rate at 6.4566 per dollar, 49 pips or
0.08% firmer than the previous fix of 6.4615.
    In the spot market, the onshore yuan opened at
6.4552 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.4472 at midday, 88
pips firmer than the previous late session close.
    If the yuan finishes the late night session at the midday
level, it would have gained 0.18% to the dollar for the week,
booking the third straight winning week in a row.
    While Chinese markets have grown somewhat used to strained
Sino-U.S. ties over trade and a host of other issues over the
past few years, news of the leaders' phone call supported
    "Overall it is a good sign," said a trader at a Chinese
    However, some market participants also noted that a breach
of the psychologically important 6.45 per dollar level has
triggered dollar demand from both corporate clients and banks'
proprietary accounts to limit the gains in the yuan.
    Markets are now awaiting China's August credit and activity
data in the coming week for more clues on the health of the
economy. While exports beat analysts' forecasts and lending is
seen rebounding, industrial output and retail sales growth are
expected to weaken further, adding to the debate over whether
more stimulus is needed.
    In global markets, the dollar headed for its first winning
week in three, after rebounding from a payrolls-induced
sell-off, as investors continued to ponder the timing of a
tapering of Federal Reserve stimulus.
    By midday, the global dollar index fell to 92.486
from the previous close of 92.532, while the offshore yuan
 was trading at 6.4418 per dollar. 
    The yuan market at 0401 GMT: 
 Item               Current  Previous  Change
 PBOC midpoint      6.4566   6.4615    0.08%
 Spot yuan          6.4472   6.456     0.14%
 Divergence from    -0.15%             
 Spot change YTD                       1.26%
 Spot change since 2005                28.37%
    Key indexes:
 Item            Current     Previous  Change
 Thomson         98.89       98.82     0.1
 CNH index                             
 Dollar index    92.486      92.532    -0.1
*Divergence of the dollar/yuan exchange rate. Negative number
indicates that spot yuan is trading stronger than the midpoint.
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) allows the exchange rate to
rise or fall 2% from official midpoint rate it sets each

 Instrument            Current   Difference
                                 from onshore
 Offshore spot yuan    6.4418    0.08%
 Offshore              6.6221    -2.50%
*Premium for offshore spot over onshore
**Figure reflects difference from PBOC's official midpoint,
since non-deliverable forwards are settled against the midpoint.

 (Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Kim




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