BEIJING — Chinese commercial banks recorded net foreign exchange sales in November, after two months of net forex settlement surplus, the country’s forex regulator said on Dec 18.
Commercial banks bought $147.4 billion worth of foreign currencies and sold 154.9 billion dollars last month, resulting in net sales of $7.5 billion, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).
In the first eleven months, banks bought $1.47 trillion of foreign currencies and sold $1.59 trillion, SAFE said in a statement.
In September, Chinese lenders saw a net foreign exchange purchase of $300 million, the first settlement surplus in more than two years. In October, they recorded a higher net forex purchase of $2.8 billion.
Despite November’s deficit, the regulator said supply and demand in the forex market had continued to be balanced, with cross-border capital flows through major channels staying at a stable and reasonable level.
“The willingness of market entities to sell foreign currencies was stronger than a year ago,” it said.
Forex settlement for goods trade has maintained a surplus, while capital inflows and forex purchase through foreign investments increased.
Individuals were also less willing to buy foreign currencies last month. The amount of foreign currencies purchased in November was 44 percent down year-on-year and 15 percent lower than the Jan-Oct monthly average.
There had been concerns over capital flowing out of the Chinese market in the second half of 2016, when the economy was facing looming downward pressures and the Chinese yuan was in the middle of a losing streak against the US dollar.
But with a firming economy and stabilizing yuan, China’s forex reserves rose for the 10th month in a row to $3.1193 trillion at the end of November, according to official data.
China’s good economic momentum has provided fundamental support for the stable cross-border capital flows and will continue to lay a solid foundation for the country’s international payment sheet to stay balanced, SAFE said.