Economic Outlook Weighs on Chinese Yuan ETFs

Even as the People’s Bank of China pegs the currency at a higher rate relative to the U.S. dollar, Chinese yuan exchange traded funds weakened Wednesday, with the yuan currency touching a 16-month low.

The WisdomTree Dreyfus Chinese Yuan Fund (NYSEArca: CYB) was down 0.2% Wednesday. CYB is down 2.0% year-to-date.

The yuan currency traded as low as 6.2466 per U.S. dollar in midday Wednesday, its weakest level since December 2012, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The currency is weakening despite central bank interventions. The PBoC set the dollar/yuan parity rate to 6.1599 Wednesday from the previous 6.1610 Tuesday. The central bank allows the currency to appreciate or depreciate 2% of the daily-set point.

“This round of yuan falls are mainly driven by investors spontaneously purchasing dollars instead of the central bank’s intervention, so we may see it slowly weakening towards 6.26 in the coming weeks,” a Shanghai local bank trader said to the Dow Jones Newswires.

Observers argue that the yuan currency has been depreciating over the past few months because the central bank is targeting speculative funds betting on an appreciation. Other traders, though, blame the slowing economy.

“We expect it will take releases of Chinese economic data through [the second quarter]for investors and traders to regain confidence in the outlook for the economy and the currency,” Patrick Bennett with CIBC said in the article.