The yuan is expected to see another weak year after finishing last year in the red, with key global banks sharply revising down their forecasts on speculation that subdued trade could make Beijing tolerate less currency appreciation. Standard Chartered is the latest bank to have turned more bearish on the currency's performance this year. In a report released yesterday, the bank said it estimated onshore yuan to gain only 1.4 per cent this year against the US dollar. Earlier, it had forecast the currency to deliver its best annual performance since 2011, gaining up to 3.7 per cent this year. HSBC is even more downbeat on the currency. It expects the yuan to depreciate 0.2 per cent this year to 6.22 against the greenback. Its earlier target for the yuan was 6.1. The yuan had its first annual decline in five years in 2014, thanks to trading volatility in the currency and disappointing economic growth. The same overhangs - economic slowdown, weak exports and a strong US dollar - remain in the new year, market watchers say. The mainland's trade data is due today. "The authorities are likely to pay greater attention to the CNY's trade-weighted value and resist new gains given subdued regional trade dynamics," Standard Chartered said in a report yesterday. "We now forecast mild CNY (onshore yuan) depreciation relative to the USD in the first half of 2015, before a resumption of appreciation in the second half as the USD weakens and China benefits from strengthening domestic and global growth," the bank said. The onshore yuan lost a total of 2.52 per cent last year while the offshore yuan added 2.76 per cent. The gap between the onshore and offshore yuan, which has been a key incentive for foreign capital to buy yuan for arbitrage trades, is expected to disappear by the end of this year. Standard Chartered expects onshore and offshore yuan (CNH) to trade at the same level by the end of this year, at 6.12. Offshore yuan deposits in Hong Kong will rise modestly to 1.05 trillion yuan (HK$1.32 trillion) by the year-end, from 974.1 billion yuan as of the end of November, the bank said. In the spot market, the offshore yuan was trading at 6.2002 against the US dollar yesterday while the onshore note was trading at 6.1998.