SHANGHAI, Aug 25 (Reuters) - China's yuan strengthened on Tuesday, with its offshore variant firming to within a whisker of 6.9 per dollar, after senior U.S. and Chinese officials expressed optimism over resolving issues around their Phase 1 trade deal. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in a "regularly scheduled call" on Monday, USTR said in a statement, adding that both sides "see progress" in implementing the Sino-U.S. trade deal. The offshore yuan rose to a high of 6.9007 per dollar on the news before pulling back. At midday in China, the currency stood at 6.9080, 61 pips firmer than Monday's close. Onshore spot yuan opened at 6.9099 per dollar and climbed to a peak of 6.9072 in the morning session. It was trading at 6.9120 per dollar at midday, firming 70 pips from Monday's late session close. The People's Bank of China had set the onshore yuan's daily midpoint fixing at 6.9183 per dollar on Tuesday, firmer than Monday's 6.9194. "Having contact is always a good thing, but (Monday's) call did not exceed market expectations so it doesn't count as a major positive factor. Looking at the market's reaction things are relatively normal," said a trader at a Chinese bank. A review of the trade agreement had originally been scheduled for Aug. 15 but had been delayed, fuelling some concerns the deal could be ditched amid growing Sino-U.S. tensions in recent months. Both offshore and onshore yuan remained shy of the seven-month highs they hit against the greenback on Friday. The yuan has benefited in recent weeks from a recovering domestic economy and investor inflows into China's stock and bond markets. In China's interbank bond market, news of the call between U.S. and Chinese trade officials helped boost risk appetite, pushing treasury futures down sharply and boosting the yield on benchmark 10-year government bonds above 3%. The yuan market at 4:00AM GMT: ONSHORE SPOT: Item Current Previous Change PBOC midpoint 6.9183 6.9194 0.02% Spot yuan 6.912 6.919 0.10% Divergence from -0.09% midpoint* Spot change YTD 0.74% Spot change since 2005 19.74% revaluation Key indexes: Item Current Previous Change Thomson 92.52 92.51 0.0 Reuters/HKEX CNH index Dollar index 93.172 93.276 -0.1 *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 morning. OFFSHORE CNH MARKET Instrument Current Difference from onshore Offshore spot yuan 6.908 0.06% * Offshore 7.0615 -2.03% 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 Andrew Galbraith and Jindong Zhang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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