Bloomberg News

Yuan Drops as Greek Talks Stall, Inflation Distorted by Holiday

February 09, 2012

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The yuan declined, halting a two-day rally, as Greek leaders struggled to agree on economic measures needed for a second aid package and Lunar New Year price increases pushed up China’s inflation rate.

Asian currencies weakened as Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and party leaders agreed on all the points of the program except one which required discussion, according to an e- mailed statement from the premier’s office. Consumer prices climbed 4.5 percent in January from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. That compares with the 4.1 percent increase in December and the 4 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

“As Lunar New Year, which pushes up food prices, happened to be in January this year, investors should wait for February data to get a clearer picture on inflation,” said Banny Lam, a Hong Kong-based economist at CCB International Securities Ltd., a unit of China’s second-largest bank. “The lack of progress in Greece disappoints investors and is bad for market sentiment.”

The yuan slipped 0.06 percent to 6.2981 per dollar as of 9:55 a.m. in Shanghai, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The People’s Bank of China set the fixing 0.03 percent stronger at 6.3009 per dollar, the highest level since Jan. 4. The currency is allowed to trade 0.5 percent on either side of the daily fixing.

In Hong Kong’s offshore market, the yuan declined 0.04 percent to 6.2898. Twelve-month non-deliverable forwards dropped 0.04 percent to 6.2595, a 0.6 percent premium to the onshore spot rate in Shanghai.

--Editors: Sandy Hendry, Anil Varma

To contact the reporter on this story: Fion Li in Hong Kong at fli59@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sandy Hendry at shendry@bloomberg.net


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