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China fixes yuan above key 7-per-dollar mark for 1st time since 2008

The People's Bank of China set the yuan's daily reference rate at the weakest level since April 2008, triggering fears of growing tensions between China and the U.S., which labeled China a currency manipulator a few days ago.

The central bank set the daily fixing at 7.0039 per U.S. dollar on Aug. 8, stronger than markets were predicting, but weaker than the 6.9996 fix Aug. 7.

The last time it was set at or above the key 7-per-dollar mark was in May 2008.

China allowed the yuan to weaken past that psychological threshold Aug. 5 for the first time in 11 years in an apparent response to President Donald Trump's latest tariffs threat Aug. 1. The PBoC on Aug. 6 set the yuan's daily reference rate at 6.9683 per dollar.

The onshore yuan can trade up to 2% above or below the PBoC's daily reference rate.

The central bank has maintained that the yuan exchange rate is determined by market forces and the depreciation in the currency since the beginning of August reflects foreign-currency volatilities amid escalating trade frictions.

Meanwhile, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is revising an initial tariffs list including more than 3,800 Chinese products following feedback from companies, as the U.S. prepares to slap duties on $300 billion in Chinese imports in the coming weeks, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

The list could reportedly be published this week or early next week.