The yuan took a breather on Wednesday after strengthening against the dollar for four straight days, the longest winning streak since mid-January, as companies scooped up dollars to meet seasonal payments.
Prior to market opening, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint rate at 7.1074 per dollar, 93 pips firmer than the previous fix. Wednesday's official midpoint continued to be fixed firmer than market expectations.
In the spot market, onshore yuan opened at 7.0897 per dollar and rose to a high of 7.0899 at one point, the strongest since May 13. But it quickly retreated to 7.1104 by midday, 59 pips weaker than the previous late session close.
Yuan forwards continued to hit new highs on Wednesday morning after the PBOC skipped open market operations, intensifying speculation the central bank could switch from monetary easing to credit expansion following its plan to buy back loans to spur lending to smaller businesses.
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