China's yuan firms on strong Sept export growth

    SHANGHAI, Oct 13 (Reuters) - China's yuan firmed on
Wednesday, as data showed September export growth unexpectedly
picked up, while investors awaited U.S. data due this week for
more signals on when the Federal Reserve would taper its
crisis-era bond buying programme.
    The People's Bank of China set the midpoint yuan rate
 at 6.4612 per dollar prior to market open, weaker
than the previous fix of 6.4447. 
    In the spot market, the yuan opened at 6.4509 per
dollar and was changing hands at 6.4456 at midday, 16 pips
stronger than the previous late session close.
    China's exports in September rose 28.1% from a year earlier,
 beating analysts' expectations, as solid global demand offset
some of the pressure on factories from power shortages and a
resurgence of domestic COVID-19 cases.
    Overnight, the dollar hit a one-year high on expectations
the U.S. Federal Reserve will taper its massive bond-buying
program next month, and on concerns over soaring energy prices
which would fuel inflation.
    Investors are waiting for U.S. Consumer Price Index data on
Wednesday and retail sales data on Friday for further clues as
to when the Fed might begin winding down stimulus. 
    Three Fed policymakers on Tuesday said the economy has
healed enough for the central bank to begin to withdraw its
massive support.
    Separately, China said on Tuesday it will liberalise
coal-fired power pricing to tackle a worsening energy crisis
which has led to production curbs across various industries.

    Higher electricity prices may push up prices of Chinese
exports to a certain extent in the medium term, and the
resulting reduction in the trade surplus may place certain
depreciation pressure on the renminbi exchange rate, investment
bank CICC said.
    By midday, the global dollar index stood at 94.356,
while the offshore yuan was trading at 6.4485 per

    The yuan market at 0420 GMT: 
 Item               Current  Previous  Change
 PBOC midpoint      6.4612   6.4447    -0.26%
 Spot yuan          6.4456   6.4472    0.02%
 Divergence from    -0.24%             
 Spot change YTD                       1.28%
 Spot change since 2005                28.41%
    Key indexes:
 Item            Current     Previous  Change
 Thomson         100.12      99.97     0.2
 CNH index                             
 Dollar index    94.356      94.523    -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% from official midpoint rate it sets each

 Instrument            Current   Difference
                                 from onshore
 Offshore spot yuan    6.4485    -0.04%
 Offshore              6.637     -2.65%
*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 Jason Xue and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by
Lincoln Feast.)