The yuan appreciated 50 basis points from Friday's 7.5731 against the US dollar to 7.5681 yesterday, the highest rate since the currency was depegged from the dollar in July 2005, state media reported. An economist at United Overseas Bank, Suan Teck Kin, said he expected the yuan to reach 7.08 by the end of 2008. He added that China will have to adopt a free float after next year's Olympics. However, Jun Ma, a Deutsche Bank economist, said a free float may take up to five years. Analysts have attributed the yuan's appreciation to rising inflation, expectations of an interest rate hike and the surge in exports from domestic firms due to export rebate cuts that took effect from the beginning of the month.