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20 April 2017, 09:22 | Jan Cross
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Banks bought US$145 billion worth of foreign currencies and sold US$156.6 billion, resulting in net sales of US$11.6 billion last month, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
"Generally speaking, the pressure of cross-border capital outflow eased significantly in the first quarter".
Banks bought 145 billion US dollars worth of foreign currencies and sold 156.6 billion dollars, resulting in net sales of 11.6 billion dollars last month, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).
The yuan slumped around 6.5 percent against the surging dollar past year, but has firmed almost 1 percent so far in 2017 at the dollar recoiled.
The move is expected to help boost liquidity in offshore yuan markets, especially Hong Kong.
Wang admitted uncertainties from US rate hikes and economic conditions but said the market is accustomed to the US Federal Reserve's policy changes. The economy grew at the strongest pace since mid-2015 in the first quarter.
The central parity rate of the yuan weakened 128 basis points to 6.8792 against the United States dollar yesterday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System.
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"Expectations of further yuan depreciation have eased in recent months, opening a window for authorities to relax recent measures, but Beijing is not likely to let go totally", Raymond Yeung, chief Greater China economist at ANZ, told Reuters.
Those measures are credited with quashing speculative outflows and helping to stabilize the currency, but have also hampered legitimate outflows as China Inc goes more global.
But the yuan has gradually recovered from its weakness as the Chinese economy firmed up in the first quarter of the year, with forecast-beating GDP growth, and the greenback became less volatile.
While the relaxed policy doesn't cover cross-border foreign exchange flows or big outbound investment deals, it was the first relaxation of outbound capital control in almost two years, the sources told the Post.
In the January-March period, banks' net forex sales stood at 40.9 billion USA dollars, down 67 percent from a year ago.
That number was slightly different from the International Monetary Fund's total of $84.51 billion in foreign government-held yuan assets, with Wang saying the reason for the difference could be that some yuan assets were held by intermediaries.
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