Bloomberg reports today that China’s yuan has now risen 12% against the US$, since the dollar peg was scrapped in July 2005. And the rise is accelerating, with the currency up 6% so far this year.
Significantly, China’s Commerce Minister Chen Deming said that the yuan’s rise ‘fits China’s economic needs’. A strong exchange rate will help to keep China’s inflation in check. This is now at 6.9%, an 11 year high. But it is a mixed blessing for Asian chemical companies, as although they (and other regional exporters) will obtain higher netbacks for their exports to China, they may also find themselves having to compete harder against domestic suppliers.
The dollar has rallied a bit in December to around 113 yen. US corporate buying traditionally supports the dollar in December, as companies finalise their accounts for year-end. But this is still a 9% fall versus its June high of 124 yen. As I noted last month, there is still a worrying potential for a dollar fall below 100 yen in the New Year, once these seasonal influences are out of the way.