China Jan FX reserves hit $1.59 trillion

BEIJING - China’s foreign exchange reserves jumped $61.6 billion in January to reach $1.5898 trillion compared with $1.5282 trillion at the end of 2007, two sources familiar with the data told Reuters on Wednesday.

By (Reuters)

Published: Wed 5 Mar 2008, 2:52 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:16 PM

The figures are likely to renew debate as to whether China is attracting new inflows of speculative money, because the increase is twice as great as the combined inflows from the trade surplus and foreign direct investment (FDI) in January.

These totalled $19.5 billion and $11.2 billion respectively.

The sources declined to be identified because they are not allowed to speak officially to the media.

The People’s Bank of China publishes the reserves data every quarter. The next figures are due in April.

China’s stockpile of reserves, the world’s largest, grew $461.9 billion last year, or $38.5 billion a month.

Economists say interpreting last year’s data was complicated by the launch in September of China Investment Corp (CIC), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which was capitalised with $200 billion from the central bank.

Accumulation of currency reserves has been tempered by government policies to encourage Chinese banks, companies and individuals to invest more capital abroad.

The PBOC has also been prodding banks to keep more foreign currencies on their books.

China’s reserves have ballooned because the central bank, in order to hold down the yuan, buys most of the dollars generated by the trade surplus, FDI and any inflows of speculative capital.

Policy makers are concerned that these inflows will increase because of a widening yield gap in China’s favour and because of a quickening pace of yuan appreciation.

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