BEIJING, March 7 China's foreign exchange
reserves unexpectedly rose for the first time in eight months in
February, rebounding above $3 trillion as a regulatory crackdown
and weakness in the dollar helped staunch capital outflows.
Reserves rose $6.92 billion during February to total $3.005
trillion, their first increase since June 2016, compared with a
drop of $12.3 billion in January, when reserves fell to $2.998
Economists polled by Reuters had expected forex reserves to
drop by $25 billion to $2.973 trillion in February.
China has tightened rules on moving capital outside the
country in recent months as it seeks to support the yuan
currency and stem a slide in its foreign exchange reserves.
It burned through nearly $320 billion of reserves last year
but the yuan still fell 6.6 percent against the dollar, its
biggest annual drop since 1994.
The yuan has steadied in recent weeks as the dollar's rally
lost steam. The Chinese currency gained 0.2 percent in February,
and is up 0.8 percent so far in 2017.
However, expectations of U.S. interest rate hikes beginning
as early as next week have rekindled fears that the yuan could
come under renewed pressure. The prospect of the yuan
depreciating could inflame trade tensions with the U.S.
President Donald Trump's administration.
China's gold reserves rose to $74.376 billion at the end of
February, from $71.292 billion at end-January, data published on
the People’s Bank of China website showed.
(Reporting by Min Zhang and Kevin Yao; Editing by Simon