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March 19, 2019

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Commercial bank forex deficit US$15b

China’s commercial banks saw a net forex settlement deficit of 101.3 billion yuan (US$15 billion) in February, the country’s forex regulator said yesterday.

This reversed a surplus of 81.8 billion yuan reported in January, the first surplus in seven months, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

Forex purchases by banks stood at 699.7 billion yuan last month, while sales were 801.1 billion yuan.

The data led to a forex settlement deficit of 19.5 billion yuan for the first two months of the year, according to the SAFE.

Although the monthly data, affected by seasonable factors such as the Spring Festival holiday, showed volatility, SAFE spokesperson Wang Chunying saw increased stability in the country’s forex market based on data for the first two months.

The country’s monthly forex settlement deficit averaged US$1.5 billion for the January-February period, narrowing 87 percent from the monthly average in the second half of 2018, Wang said.

Wang said the foundation for a stable forex market remains sound, because of factors such as great resilience and potential of the economy, increased counter-cyclical adjustment, a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy, a stable macro leverage ratio, financial risks being controllable and ample forex reserves.


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