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China's yuan firms as dollar takes breather from U.S. jobs-related rally

SHANGHAI, Aug 7 (Reuters) - China's yuan firmed against the U.S. dollar on Monday, mainly as the greenback took a breather from a broad-based rally on Friday following a strong U.S. July job report. The local currency's uptick came despite the People's Bank of China setting the yuan midpoint at 6.7228 per dollar on Monday, 96 pips, or 0.14 percent, weaker than the previous fix at 6.7132 per dollar. That shift in the guidance was the biggest one-day weakening in percentage terms since July 4. In the spot market, the yuan opened at 6.7283 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.7230 at midday, 65 pips firmer than the previous late session close but 2 pips weaker than the midpoint. Some traders were liquidating their dollar positions in early trade on concerns corporate dollar sales would soon emerge, a Shanghai-based trader at a Chinese bank said. Markets were also watching out data for China's foreign exchange reserves data expected during the day. The reserves, the largest in the world, are expected to have edged up to a nine-month high in July as Beijing kept a tight grip on the yuan and capital outflows. The dollar rallied on Friday after a solid U.S. jobs report. The global dollar index, a gauge that measures dollar strength against six other currencies, jumped to a high of 93.774 late Friday. It stood at 93.342 as of midday on Monday. The U.S. currency has been hobbled over the past several weeks by expectations of a slower pace of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, while disarray at the White House has stoked concerns about President Donald Trump's economic reform agenda. The yuan edged up around 0.1 percent against the dollar last week, and on a trade-weighted basis against a basket of currencies of its trading partners, it tacked on 0.11 percent to 92.86 from 92.74 a week earlier, according to official data from the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS). The CFETS publishes index figures on a weekly basis. The Thomson Reuters/HKEX Global CNH index, which tracks the offshore yuan against a basket of currencies on a daily basis, stood at 93.97, firmer than the previous day's 93.77. The offshore yuan was trading 0.09 percent below the onshore spot at 6.7291 per dollar. Offshore one-year non-deliverable forwards contracts (NDFs), considered the best available proxy for forward-looking market expectations of the yuan's value, traded at 6.8605, 2.01 percent weaker than the midpoint. One-year NDFs are settled against the midpoint, not the spot rate. The yuan market at 0405 GMT:

ONSHORE SPOT:

Item Current Previous Change PBOC midpoint 6.7228 6.7132 -0.14% Spot yuan 6.723 6.7295 0.10% Divergence from 0.00%

midpoint*

Spot change YTD 3.33% Spot change since 2005 23.11%

revaluation

Key indexes:

Item Current Previous Change Thomson 93.97 93.77 0.2

Reuters/HKEX CNH index

Dollar index 93.342 93.542 -0.2

*Divergence of the dollar/yuan exchange rate. Negative number indicates that spot yuan is trading stronger than the midpoint. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) allows the exchange rate to rise or fall 2 percent from official midpoint rate it sets each morning.

OFFSHORE CNH MARKET

Instrument Current Difference

from onshore

Offshore spot yuan 6.7291 -0.09% * Offshore 6.8605 -2.01%

non-deliverable forwards

**

*Premium for offshore spot over onshore

**Figure reflects difference from PBOC's official midpoint, since non-deliverable forwards are settled against the midpoint. .

(Reporting by Winni Zhou and John Ruwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)