China banks buy net $54.3bln FX for clients in Dec-SAFE

Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:55pm EST

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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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