China sets yuan midpoint at 1-week low, index rises to 5-1/2-year high

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SHANGHAI — China’s central bank on Friday set its official yuan midpoint at a one-week low, but its value against its major trading partners rose to a fresh 5-1/2-year high.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint at 6.4527 yuan per dollar prior to the market open, 197 pips or 0.31%, weaker than the previous fix of 6.4330. It was the lowest since Sept. 10.

However, the weakened official guidance rate pushed China’s trade-weighted yuan basket index to 99.02, the highest since March 9, 2016, up 4.41% so far this year, according to Reuters’ calculations based on official data.

Traders and analysts attributed the yuan’s strength against its basket to relatively smaller declines versus the dollar than its peers.

(Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)