China banks buy net $54.3bln FX for clients in Dec-SAFE
BEIJING, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Chinese banks bought more foreign currency than they sold for clients in December, making net purchases of $54.3 billion in foreign exchange in over-the-counter transactions, figures from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) showed on Friday. The tally - nearly triple that of November and marking the fourth straight month of net purchases - added to signs of increased capital inflows as the world's second-largest economy recovers. In the whole of 2012, Chinese banks made net foreign exchange purchases of $110.6 billion, SAFE, the country's forex regulator, said in a statement on its website, www.safe.gov.cn Chinese banks were also net buyers of $9.5 billion in the forwards market in December. The central bank said last week that the banking system bought 134.6 billion yuan ($21.64 billion) worth of foreign exchange on a net basis in December, reversing November's net sale. China has the world's largest foreign exchange reserves, standing at $3.31 trillion at the end of 2012, accumulated as a function of the country's capital controls which saw exporters and investors sell dollars to Chinese banks, which in turn sold most of them to the central bank. Following is monthly data on Chinese commercial banks' net foreign exchange purchases (in $bln): Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan Dec 54.3 18.5 7.8 6.3 -6.3 0.5 -3.5 5.1 -3.7 7.8 4.4 19.4 -15.3 (Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Nick Edwards)
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