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Yuan continues to hit new high against US dollar
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China's currency, the yuan, rose slightly from the previous day's trading to hit a new high against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday for the fourth consecutive day, with the central parity rate standing at 7.2418 yuan to one dollar.


The yuan, also known as the Renminbi, climbed 36 basis points from Tuesday, according to China Foreign Exchange Trading System.


Analysts said the continued appreciation of the yuan was largely a result of a weakening U.S. dollar.


They said the value of the dollar had been pushed further down by the release of U.S. retail sales figures for December which revealed a decline that was greater than expected, as a result of the dip in the country's real estate market and oil price hikes.


The Chinese currency rose 6.9 percent against the dollar last year and has appreciated against the greenback by about 12 percent since a new currency regime was imposed in July 2005 to discontinue the yuan's peg to the dollar.


Analysts said the downturn of the U.S. dollar would continue throughout the first half of 2008, while Asian currencies were expected to remain strong. They forecast that the Chinese currency would appreciate at least 7-10 percent against the U.S. dollar over the whole year.


On Wednesday, the Renminbi gained 564 basis points against the unified European currency to 10.7193 yuan to one euro. It lost 856 basis points against the Japanese currency to 6.7915 yuan to 100 Japanese yen, and 267 basis points to reach 14.1849 yuan to one British pound.


(Xinhua News Agency January 16, 2008)

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