China's Yuan Has Biggest Quarterly Gain

China's yuan had the biggest quarterly gain since a dollar peg was scrapped in July 2005 on speculation U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's visit to Beijing this week will help accelerate the currency's advance., Bloomberg 3/31/2008 7:08:31 AM

The yuan strengthened 4.2 percent since Dec. 31, the third- best performer of Asia's 10 most-traded currencies outside Japan, before Paulson arrives in Beijing on April 2 to discuss economic issues including exchange-rate policy with members of Premier Wen Jiabao's new cabinet. The U.S., Europe and Japan have all called for China to let its currency rise to reduce its record trade surplus.

The yuan closed at 7.0120 per dollar as of 5:30 p.m. in Shanghai, from 7.3041 at the end of last year, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The currency has gained 18 percent since China ended a peg to the dollar in 2005. The closing price is the same as yesterday.

U.S. House Democrats asked President George W. Bush last week to use his influence with international agencies to persuade China to revalue its currency. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel and 14 other Democrats on the panel said the U.S. should use the World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund to get China to revalue the yuan.

Premier Wen Jiabao has pledged to narrow China's trade surplus that has flooded the economy with cash, swelled currency reserves to at least $1.5 trillion and fueled inflation.

Pork prices in China, the world's biggest producer and consumer of the meat, may stay near a record for another year, Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., the country's biggest independent agricultural research firm, said today. High meat costs have thwarted the government's efforts to cool inflation at an 11- year high.