China's forex reserves up for 10th straight month

China's forex reserves up for 10th straight month

In the spot market, the onshore yuan opened at 6.6180 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.6140 at midday, just 5 pips firmer than the previous late session close and 0.08 per cent stronger than the midpoint.

According to the People's bank of China, the Asian giant's foreign exchange reserves increased by $10bn in November to reach $3.119trn, which was roughly in-line with economists' forecasts. This was the tenth consecutive rise in reserves.

It was the first time that China's reserves have climbed for 10 months in a row since June 2014, and brought its stockpile - the world's largest - to the highest since October past year.

China's foreign exchange reserves were little changed last month, extending a spell of stability which some economists believe might encourage Beijing to take further "baby steps" towards full-blown FX liberalisation such as widening the trading band for the yuan.

The yuan rose slightly against the dollar in November, making it a almost 5% increase so far this year.

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Better sentiment around China's currency and the capital controls that have been in place all year have helped rebuild the holding, which fell below $3 trillion in January for the first time since 2011. But reserves have since climbed by $121 billion.

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) attributed the continued increase to stronger non-dollar currencies and fluctuations in asset prices, as cross-border capital flows and transactions remained steady.

Still, some economists believe it is premature for the Chinese authorities to loosen capital controls as money flight could pick up due to expected US rate rises and tax cuts.

China's central bank and commercial lenders recorded net purchases of foreign exchange in September and October, reversing a trend of net sales stretching back almost two years. The reserves for November came in line with expectations.

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