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March 8, 2017

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Forex reserves rise to pass US$3t

CHINA’S foreign exchange reserves rose in February for the first time in eight months to pass the US$3 trillion mark as policy-makers were comfortable with the yuan’s exchange rate and the country’s economy continued to recover.

The world’s largest currency hoard rose US$6.92 billion to US$3.0051 trillion in February from January’s six-year low of US$2.9982 trillion, data from the People’s Bank of China showed yesterday.

The increase defied market forecast of a fall to US$2.969 trillion, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

“The rise in China forex reserves shows there has been less intervention in the foreign exchange markets compared to the past couple of months, ultimately showing that the PBOC or policy-makers are now more comfortable with the yuan valuation,” said Jameel Ahmad, vice president of corporate development and market research at FXTM, a forex brokerage.

The central parity rate of the yuan to the US dollar weakened by 0.24 percent in February to 6.875. That compared with a 1.3 percent firming in January.

The yuan can trade between 2 percent on each side of the central parity rate daily.

The increase in the reserves was also in line with authorities’ hopes for a balanced cross-border money flow as China’s economic growth gained momentum.

Official data released last week showed China’s manufacturing activity in February grew faster than market hopes as the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 51.6 from January’s 51.3.

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange said in a statement last month that the fall in reserves had been slowing in the past few months, signaling easing outflow pressure amid China’s economic recovery.


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