Long-term trend of exchange rates 'depends' on economic fundamentals
The long-term stability and value of the Chinese yuan and its status as a rising international currency remain solid despite the currency's recent weak performance against the US dollar, officials and currency experts said.
Wang Chunying, deputy head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, said that the recent depreciation of the yuan is a short-term change and did not alter the behavior of the yuan in registering two-way fluctuations while staying largely stable at a reasonable level.
"For a super large economy like China, the long-term trend of exchange rates mainly depends on domestic fundamentals," Wang said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency.
After a sell-off that sent the exchange rate of the onshore yuan against the greenback down to 6.81 on May 13, its weakest level since September 2020, the yuan has shown signs of stabilizing.
As of Friday afternoon, the onshore yuan has strengthened to around 6.67 against the dollar.
Wang added recent cross-border capital flow fluctuations in the securities market will not affect the long-term trend of global investors increasing holdings in yuan-denominated assets, which provide stable investment returns and the benefit of diversifying their portfolios.
The increase in the weighting of the yuan in the currency basket of the Special Drawing Rights, a global reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund, is a sign of the confidence of the international community in China's financial markets, Wang said.
The IMF said on May 14 that it has lifted the yuan's weighting in the SDR currency basket to 12.28 percent from 10.92 percent, effective from Aug 1, keeping the yuan the third top currency in terms of share in the basket.
The yuan retained its position as the fifth most active currency for global payments by value in April, with a share of 2.14 percent, compared with 1.95 percent a year ago and 2.2 percent in March, according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT.
Maximilian Wieland, an economist at Vanguard Investment Strategy Group, said that the recent yuan weakness is mainly attributable to a strong dollar amid market expectations over aggressive tightening by the United States Federal Reserve and the impact on China's economy of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
"However, we expect both external and domestic forces pushing down the yuan to abate going forward, putting a floor under the recent yuan sell-off, even raising the prospect of some modest appreciation," he said.
While the exchange rate of the onshore yuan has weakened by about 6 percent against the dollar so far this year, the declines of the euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound against the greenback are bigger and have stood at approximately 8 percent to 10 percent during the same period, official data showed.
Chen Jia, a researcher at the Renmin University of China's International Monetary Institute, said the stability of the yuan relative to many other currencies and the country's robust inflows related to trade and foreign direct investment have combined to alleviate the capital outflow pressure brought on by a strong dollar.
The nation has maintained cross-border net capital inflows even with a weaker yuan, as cross-border receipts by China's nonbanking sectors outnumbered payments by $16.2 billion in April, up 57 percent compared with a month earlier, the SAFE said.