China November forex reserves fall more than expected, lowest since 2011

China's foreign exchange reserves fell for a fifth straight month in November and reached the lowest it has been since March 2011.
China's foreign exchange reserves fell for a fifth straight month in November and reached the lowest it has been since March 2011.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's foreign exchange reserves fell for a fifth straight month in November and by more than expected to the lowest since March 2011, as authorities struggled to shore up the sliding yuan currency in the face of a relentlessly rising dollar.

Reserves fell by US$69.06 billion (S$98.03 billion) last month to US$3.052 trillion, central bank data showed on Wednesday, following a drop of US$45.7 billion in October.

The central bank is widely believed to have sold US dollars to support the yuan currency as it sunk to more than 8-1/2 year lows in November.

China has announced a string of measures in recent weeks to tighten controls on money moving out of the country, adding to market speculation that potentially destabilising capital outflows are on the rise.

The yuan's more than 5 per cent slide so far this year has sparked a flurry of bets that the currency will weaken further, leaving traders wondering how long China's leaders can maintain their yuan defence and withstand a prolonged drain on reserves if the US dollar continues to firm.

Adding to pressure on the currency, US President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office on Jan 20 and has threatened to impose huge tariffs on imports of Chinese goods.

China's gold reserves fell to US$69.785 billion at end- November from US$75.348 billion at end-October.