China’s foreign exchange reserves top $3.2 trillion

China’s foreign exchange reserves hit a record $3.2017 trillion at the end of September, compared with $3.1975 trillion at the end of June, the country’s central bank said Friday.

The country’s forex reserves have ballooned in recent years, fuelled by strong foreign investment, large trade surpluses and inflows of “hot money” – short-term speculative funds in search of quick profits.

The stockpile has been rising as Beijing buys foreign currencies used to pay for the country’s exports in order to control the value of the yuan.

China’s new yuan loans stood at 470 billion yuan ($73 billion) at the end of September, according to a statement from the People’s Bank of China. That figure was down from 548.5 billion yuan in August.

The broadest measure of money supply, M2, was up 13 percent year-on-year at the end of September, slower than 13.5 percent rise at the end of August, the central bank said, in another sign of slowing credit.

Policymakers have been pulling on a variety of levers to rein in bank lending over fears of soaring property prices and inflation, which Beijing worries could trigger social unrest.

China’s consumer price index rose 6.1 percent in September from a year earlier, the government said Friday, slowing only marginally from an annual rise of 6.2 percent in August. Inflation hit a more than three-year high of 6.5 percent in July.

The central bank has hiked interest rates five times since October and increased the amount of money banks must keep in reserve numerous times in the past year as part of a monetary tightening policy.

Friday, October 14, 2011
SHANGHAI – Agence France-Presse