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Yuan to appreciate moderately in 2014

Updated: 2013-12-20 20:43
By Hu Yuanyuan (

China's yuan is expected to continue to appreciate moderately in 2014, but at a slower pace, economists said.

Deutsche Bank strategists forecast that the yuan will appreciate versus the US dollar by roughly 2-3 percent in 2014, and that renminbi cross-border trade settlement will increase by roughly 50 percent to 6 trillion yuan ($983 billion), or approximately 20 percent of China's global trade volume.

"Looking to 2014, we expect yuan to continue to appreciate moderately, with the yuan/US dollar bilateral rate expected to rise to the level of 6," said Zhu Haibin, China economist at J.P. Morgan,

Fundamentally, the expected global economic recovery should support China's export sector as mentioned above, which should stabilize China's current account surplus at about 2 percent of GDP.

The yuan exchange rate is seen to be rather close to the equilibrium level in 2013.

Nominal trade-weighted yuan has appreciated by 6.1 percent since the beginning of the year, amid the notable weakening in Japanese yen and the volatility in the major emerging markets currencies through the course of the year.

"On the policy front, as part of the financial reform package, we look for the widening of the daily trading band for dollar/yuan from 1 to 2 percent in the near term, which should increase the two-way volatility in the currency," said Zhu.

Deutsche Bank strategists expect that financial deregulation will propel the market forward in 2014, anticipating significant renminbi policy breakthroughs such as key financial market reforms within the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, the establishment of more clearing banks in Europe or other regional centers, the relaxation of renminbi supply to the offshore renminbi market, as well as the further relaxation of foreigners' access to onshore capital markets in China.

For Michael Andrew, chairman of KPMG International, further opening up of China's capital markets will be important not just for China, but for Chinese businesses and the global economy.

"If we are to effectively foster growth, we need to get this capital flowing. There has not been nearly enough activity in the financial markets this year," Andrew said.

He firmly believes that the capital is there and if this starts to become more active, particularly across borders it will aid growth.

"Increased liquidity will drive growth, we just need to ensure that governments and regulators facilitate rather than inhibit this," Andrew said. But he admitted that there is a risk that capital will be drawn to the developed economies of the US, Western Europe and Japan, where recoveries are setting in. This may leave emerging markets exposed and short of the capital needed to further their development.