Tue, Sep 30, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Chinese reserves of foreign exchange rise 20% this year

AP , BEIJING

China's foreign exchange reserves, already the world's second-biggest, have risen by nearly 20 percent this year to US$364.7 billion, the country's central bank said yesterday.

The announcement on the bank's Web site came amid demands by the US for Beijing to loosen strict currency controls that have helped add to the sharp rise in the country's reserves.

The latest figure was for the central bank's reserves at the end of last month, which it said had risen US$8.2 billion from the end of July. The figure was a 19.8 percent increase from the start of the year.

China's central bank is required to convert most money that flows into the country into yuan, which adds to its foreign exchange reserves. Converting yuan into foreign currency requires official permission that is difficult to obtain.

Critics point to China's forex reserves as evidence of what they say are unfair currency policies.

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