China will take steps if FX market fluctuations become too big

China’s official app for digital yuan is seen on a mobile phone placed in front of an image of the Chinese flag. The People’s Bank of China is pulling out all the stops to promote the e-currency to a population far more used to transacting on a daily basis using WeChat Pay and Alipay. — Reuters

SHANGHAI/BEIJING: China will roll out counter-cyclical measures at an appropriate time if policy tightening by major world economies leads to currency market fluctuations becoming too large, the country's foreign exchange regulator said on Friday.

Wang Chunying, spokesperson for the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), said "if the foreign exchange market faces relatively big fluctuations, (regulators) will roll out counter-cyclical adjustments at an appropriate time."

She said the regulator would pay close attention to inflationary pressures in the United States and the pace of monetary policy tightening at Federal Reserve in order to make proactive adjustments to guide market expectations and maintain currency market stability.

"Markets have fully priced in the pace of Fed's (plan) to reduce asset purchases, and risks of triggering turmoil in global markets in the short term are controllable," Wang said.

The shift in policy at global central banks will not change the largely stable condition of China's balance of payments or the trend of the yuan currency, she added.

The recent strength in the Chinese currency, which breached a key threshold of 6.4 yuan per dollar level to hit a four-month high this week, was normal and driven by market forces, the regulator said.

"The yuan moved in both directions and had two-way volatility this year, and generally remained stable," Wang said.

"The yuan exchange rate will continue to be dependent on economic situations at both home and abroad, the balance of payments and changes in global FX markets," Wang said, adding persistent appreciation or depreciation in the yuan would be unlikely.

The yuan has recently also climbed to its strongest levels in six years against the currencies of the country's trading partners, and investors have become uncertain over the lack of intervention and authorities apparent unconcern.

The FX regulator has in the past made adjustments to the counter-cyclical factor in the yuan midpoint fixing formula, banks' FX reserve requirement ratio and FX risk reserve ratio for forward contracts to curb any strong one-way bet on the yuan.

In late May, China's central bank raised the FX reserve requirement ratio for financial institutions to 7% from 5%, with market participants interpreting it as an attempt to stem gains in the Chinese currency. - Reuters

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