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China's foreign reserves drop to US$3.18 trln

Jan. 13, 2012 (China Knowledge) - China's foreign-exchange reserves had totaled US$3.18 trillion as of December 31, 2011, reflecting a drop of US$20.55 billion from the third quarter ending September 30, according to statistics from the People's Bank of China.

The decline was partly due to capital outflows and depreciation of European currency.

This is the first time for China's foreign-exchange reserves to drop on quarter since 1998, said Zhiwei Zhang, an economist at Nomura Securities, adding that the decline reflected China's large capital outflows in the fourth quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, the country's foreign-exchange reserves grew by US$4.2 billion to US$3.2 trillion, and the growth was lower than an increase of US$152.8 billion in the second quarter.

The central bank and financial institutions of China, which has amassed the world's largest foreign exchange reserves, sold RMB 100.3 billion worth of foreign exchange in December 2011, over tripled RMB 27.9 billion in November.

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