Yuan virtually flat on first day trading as an IMF reserve currency

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 12:08pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 1:13pm

China’s yuan began its first day of trading as a global reserve currency without fanfare, trading slightly weaker on Monday morning as Chinese investors are on their week-long holiday.

On October 1, the International Monetary Fund conferred what is seen by many as a stamp of recognition on China’s status as a key global financial system player by adding the yuan as its fifth Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency.

Offshore yuan in Hong Kong (CNH) traded at 6.6685 to the US dollar at 10.25 am, 0.05 per cent, or 35 points weaker than on Friday.

Trading of onshore yuan in Shanghai (CNY) is on hold for the whole of this week, having closed at 6.6745 last Friday.

Kevin Lai, an analyst at Daiwa Capital, said in a report: “SDR inclusion is a reform driver but not a game changer for the yuan.

“As we have argued, the IMF’s imprimatur does not automatically confer reserve currency status for the CNY. This is ultimately determined by the willingness of global central banks to hold the issuer’s currency and financial instruments.”

Lai said he expects the offshore market to remain bearish on the currency as news of the yuan’s SDR inclusion has not so far been able to reverse declines. However, in the third quarter CNH weakened just 0.17 per cent or 114 points, the smallest quarterly drop over the past year and a half.

In other currency trading , the British pound was slightly down, trading at US$1.2931 on Monday morning, while the euro weakened 0.08 per cent to US$1.1229. The Japanese yen traded lower at 101.46 to the US dollar.