A forex official has acknowledged for the first time that Beijing is experimenting with broadening the yuan exchange rate band. The yuan closed outside its wafer-thin range for the fourth time in a week on Monday, further reinforcing the notion that the central bank is testing a more flexible currency regime ahead of the country's World Trade Organisation entry. The central People's Bank of China (PBOC) and State Administration of Foreign Exchange officials declined to confirm whether the PBOC was moving to widen the band. 'This is not unusual, it's a reflection of the market,' said a PBOC official in Beijing. But an official of the China Foreign Exchange Trade System, which runs the national forex market, said Beijing was already effectively allowing the yuan to trade in a broader range. Beijing would continue to maintain the stability of the yuan as it widened the band, he said. 'The fluctuations are already broader,' the official said. 'With stability as the prerequisite, China will explore how big the fluctuations can be.' The yuan ended at 8.2768 against the US dollar on demand from exporters, up from Friday's 8.2769 close. It was the fourth time since last Tuesday the currency ended outside the 8.2770 trading band to 8.2800 the PBOC steadfastly maintains. Dealers said there was no sign of PBOC intervention. Even a rate rise in forex deposits and loans by the Bank of China on Monday failed to put a damper on the surging currency, underpinned by strong exports this year. The yuan set a closing record of 8.2764 on Wednesday, finishing at its highest level since Beijing unified its dual exchange rates in 1994. That close broke the record set last Tuesday. The currency fluctuated widely on Monday as trading spread between 8.2780 and 8.2761. Dealers said the tightly controlled market was unaffected by the forex rate rises. Such rises carry little weight in the mainland as the yuan is not convertible on the capital account.