* Banks' net FX sales $10.1 bln in Feb vs $19.2 bln in Jan
* Jan-Feb net forex sales at $29.3 bln
* Capital outflows ease due to govt curbs, steadying yuan
BEIJING, March 16 Net foreign exchange sales by
China's commercial banks fell to their lowest level in six
months in February, as capital outflows eased due to tighter
regulatory curbs and a steadying yuan.
China's commercial banks sold a net $10.1 billion of foreign
exchange in February, down 47 percent from January and the
lowest amount since August, data from the foreign exchange
regulator showed on Thursday.
For the January to February period, net forex sales stood at
$29.3 billion, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said
on its website.
The regulator said capital inflows and outflows would become
more balanced in the future.
The central bank raised short-term interest rates on
Thursday in what economists said was a bid to stave off capital
outflows and keep the yuan currency stable after the Federal
Reserve raised U.S. rates overnight.
That followed a string of regulatory steps to curb capital
outflows, including increased scrutiny on outbound investment
deals and individual foreign currency purchases.
Earlier data showed China's central bank in February sold
the smallest amount of foreign exchange in nine months,
supporting the government's assertions that capital outflows
were easing amid tighter scrutiny of cross-border flows.
China's yuan has steadied this year after falling
6.5 percent last year - the biggest annual drop since 1994.
Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said last week market
expectations of the yuan's movements have shown "big changes"
this year as China's economy stabilises.
China's foreign exchange reserves unexpectedly rebounded
back above $3 trillion in February due to fund outflow curbs and
the steadying yuan.
(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Randy Fabi)