Thursday, April 26, 2018
Martin Hennecke

Pressure off as curbs halt slide in yuan
Capital outflows from China eased sharply in the first quarter and cross border flows were more balanced, the foreign exchange regulator said yesterday, in the latest official comments indicating policymakers are growing less worried about the yuan.

Reduced pressure from outflows has helped steady the yuan this year and brought China's foreign currency reserves back over the closely watched US$3 trillion (HK$23.4 trillion) mark.

Expectations for further yuan depreciation have weakened significantly, State Administration of Foreign Exchange spokeswoman Wang Chunying said.

Net foreign exchange sales by China's commercial banks fell sharply in the first quarter after policymakers tightened supervision on money leaving the country and as a weaker US dollar took pressure off the yuan and other emerging currencies.

Net sales of foreign exchange by Chinese commercial banks dropped to US$40.9 billion in the first quarter, compared with US$124.8 billion in the first quarter of 2016 and US$337.7 billion in sales last year, SAFE data showed.

The yuan slumped around 6.5 percent against the surging dollar last year, but has firmed nearly 1 percent so far in 2017 as the dollar recoiled.

China Development Bank is considering providing financing for a Chinese consortium seeking to buy a stake in Russia's largest gold producer Polyus, two sources told Reuters.

The consortium, led by Fosun International, one of China's most acquisitive conglomerates, has since last year been in talks to buy a stake in Polyus, controlled by the family of Russian tycoon Suleiman Kerimov.

According to one of the sources, the Chinese buyer is also discussing the financing with a few other banks, but the source did not identify them.

The plan under discussion is to sell "well below" a 25 percent stake in Polyus to the Fosun-led consortium, with a potential option to increase the stake later, said one of the sources.

Chinese tycoon Wang Jianlin, founder of Dalian Wanda, said in an interview with the Financial Times that China's recent capital control measures prevented his company from purchasing a US TV production company Dick Clark Productions in a deal that would have been worth US$1 billion.

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