November 16, 2016 / 8:25 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-China commercial banks' forex sales ease to $14.6 bln in Oct

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BEIJING, Nov 16 (Reuters) - China’s commercial banks sold a net $14.6 billion of foreign exchange in October, down from September’s $28.4 billion as capital outflows eased, the foreign exchange regulator said on Wednesday.

“The pressure on cross-border capital outflows eased somewhat in October,” the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said in a statement on its website.

China’s cross-border capital flows are expected to stabilise over the medium- and long- term as the economy shows increased signs of steadying, it said.

For the January to October period, comemrcial net forex sales stood at $258 billion, the regulator said.

Earlier data showed China’s central bank sold a net $39.2 billion worth of foreign exchange in October, easing from an eight-month high hit in September but still indicating continued official interventions to support the yuan.

China’s foreign exchange reserves fell $45.7 billion in October to $3.121 trillion, the biggest monthly decline since January.

Beijing has been trying to stem the flow of capital abroad with a string of measures aimed at closing loopholes and clamping down on illegal transfers, but pressure is growing again as the yuan weakens to eight-year lows against the dollar.

Even as authorities have been busily damming up official channels for money to leave China, more than ever is leaking out through shady means, such as faked trade transactions through Hong Kong, financial industry executives say.

Expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December has boosted the dollar, weighing on the yuan which has fallen nearly 5.5 percent so far this year.

Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Kim Coghill

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