Chinese regulators announced that the yuan will be allowed to trade at a wider range, marking a big step towards a more freely-floated currency, The Wall Street Journal reported. The new rules, taking effect Monday, will allow investors to trade the renminbi within a 1% range above or below the daily reference point set by the People’s Bank of China. The band has been set at 0.5% since 2007, and before then was 0.3%. The widening has long been anticipated by economists and traders, with several key officials – including Premier Wen Jiabao – hinting that the yuan was nearing a “fair value” and could therefore be traded more freely. Recent data showing weak export growth and minimal trade surpluses suggest that the yuan may no longer be as undervalued against the US dollar as it once was. Ben Rhodes, a spokesperson for US President Barack Obama, said that while the move indicates “some progress” the US would like to see “more movement” towards a freely convertible yuan.