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Yuan hits new high against US dollar
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China's currency, the yuan, hit a new high against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, following an overnight key interest rate cut in the United States.

The yuan, also known as the renminbi, went up 145 basis points from the previous day to a central parity rate of 7.1853 yuan to one dollar, breaking the 7.19 mark.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut U.S. interest rates by a bold half-percentage point as part of its efforts to shore up economic growth.

The move came just eight days after the U.S. central bank slashed rates by three quarters of a percentage point, leading the dollar to weaken against other major world currencies.

The Chinese currency had appreciated against the greenback by about 12 percent since a new currency regime was imposed in July 2005 to revalue and de-peg it from the dollar.

It had climbed 6.9 percent against the dollar in the past year, but some U.S. critics say it remains undervalued, giving Chinese exporters an unfair advantage and resulting in the massive trade imbalance between the two countries.

China was not against revaluation of the yuan, but opposed "excessively rapid" appreciation that was inappropriate to its national conditions, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said last month.

Premier Wen Jiabao also said China would improve the yuan's exchange rate mechanism in a controllable and gradual manner, let the market play a bigger role in the mechanism and enhance the currency's flexibility.

(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)

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