China’s reserves fall most in 5-1/2 years amid slowdown worries


China’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $68 billion in April, the biggest drop in five-and-a-half years, official data showed on Saturday, as the dollar climbed while foreign investors dumped Chinese stocks amid worries about the slowing economy.

The country’s foreign exchange reserves – the world’s largest – fell to $3.12 trillion last month from $3.188 trillion in March, the biggest monthly drop since November 2016.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the reserves to fall to $3.133 trillion in April.

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement that the 2% drop in April reserves from March mainly reflected valuation effect as the dollar gained against other major currencies, and changes of global asset prices.

“In April 2022, China’s cross-border funds generally continued the trend of net inflows, and the supply and demand in the domestic foreign exchange market remained basically balanced,” the SAFE said.

The yuan fell 4% against the dollar in April, while the dollar rose 5% in April against a basket of other major currencies.

Overseas investors extended their selling of Chinese shares into April on mounting worries about the impact of prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns and the fallout of the Ukraine-Russia war.

China’s foreign exchange reserves dropped $130 billion in the first four months, the official data showed. They had climbed $33.6 billion in 2021.

China held 62.64 million fine troy ounces of gold at the end of April, unchanged from a month earlier. The value of China’s gold reserves fell to $119.73 billion at the end of April from $121.66 billion at the end of March.

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