(Bloomberg) — China’s yuan strengthened and stocks rose on mainland exchanges in a positive start to the month for traders returning to work after an eight-day holiday.

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The currency advanced 1.1% as of 9:53 a.m. in Shanghai, tracking recent moves in the offshore rate. The People’s Bank of China set its yuan fixing at 6.7796 per dollar on Friday — or slightly stronger than expected — suggesting it will continue to allow for currency gains after the yuan had its best quarter since 2008 versus the greenback.

“Markets will take any indication that the authorities are not too concerned about the level of the yuan as a positive sign,” said Khoon Goh, head of research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. “In effect, not sending a signal is in itself a signal.”

The Shanghai Composite Index of stocks rose 1.4% and the CSI 300 Index climbed 1.7%. China’s $9.4 trillion onshore equity market last traded on Sept. 30.



chart: China's yuan strengthens toward 6.7 per dollar


© Bloomberg
China’s yuan strengthens toward 6.7 per dollar

Solar and technology stocks were among the biggest gainers in early trade. Longi Green Technology Co. surged 9.3% to hit a record high. Lens Technology Co. rose 7.4% and GoerTek Inc. added 6.3%.

“Stocks are getting a boost from the better-than-expected consumption data during the Golden Week holidays and a strong yuan,” said Daniel So, strategist at CMB International Securities Ltd. “Investors are looking forward to the Communist Party meeting toward month-end, before which market sentiment has usually been positive, as more stimulus policies are expected.”

China is unique among major economies to close its financial markets for long periods several times a year. In February, stocks were hit by a ferocious wave of selling and the yuan weakened past a key level against the dollar, as a rapidly

ECONOMIC REPORT



a truck that is driving down the street: Trucks carrying shipping containers wait in line to enter a shipping berth at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California. The U.S. trade defict rose to the third highest level ever in August.


© Getty Images
Trucks carrying shipping containers wait in line to enter a shipping berth at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California. The U.S. trade defict rose to the third highest level ever in August.

The numbers: The U.S. trade deficit climbed almost 6% in August to $67.1 billion and hit the third highest level on record, reflecting an ongoing struggle by American exporters to recover all the ground lost in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists polled by MarketWatch has forecast a $66.7 billion trade gap.



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What happened: Imports of foreign goods and services rose 3.2% in August to $239 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau said Tuesday.

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Exports increased a smaller 2.2% to $171.9 billion.

Imports have rebounded faster than exports, largely reflecting a stronger recovery in the U.S. economy compared to many of its trading partners. Imports are just 3% below prepandemic levels.

Exports, on the other hand, are about 18% lower compared to the last month before the pandemic. Disruptions in global supply chains and weaker demand overseas have hindered the ability of U.S. exporters to recover all the sales lost early in the pandemic.

The U.S. is also exporting fewer services tied to travel and tourism with so few people around the world flying and visiting other countries. Typically the U.S. runs a large surplus in services because its one of the most frequented travel destinations in the world.

Read: Consumer confidence surges to highest level of coronavirus era

The trade gap in goods with China, meanwhile, fell to $26.4 billion in August from $28.3 billion in the prior month. The deficit with China is running about 18% lower in 2020 compared to 2019 owing to coronavirus disruptions and U.S. tariffs.

The big picture: A larger trade deficit subtracts