China central bank weakens midpoint by most in nearly a month as Sino-U.S. tensions flare

FILE PHOTO: Headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, is pictured in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s central bank weakened its official yuan midpoint by the most in nearly a month on Thursday, reflecting losses in the spot price a day earlier after Washington gave the Chinese consulate in Houston 72 hours to close.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint rate at 6.9921 per dollar prior to the market open, 203 pips or 0.3% weaker than the previous fix of 6.9718.

The move in Thursday’s official fixing was the biggest one-day weakening in percentage terms since June 29.

The onshore spot yuan ended its domestic trading session at its weakest closing level in more than a week on Wednesday after a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said that the order by the United States was an “unprecedented escalation of its recent actions against China” and that China would retaliate if the United States did not change course.

Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Jacqueline Wong