Chinas foreign exchange reserves rose to $1.76 trillion at the end of April, state media reported yesterday, reaching a level higher than the rest of Northeast Asias combined.
Chinas reserves, by far the largest in the world, expanded by another $74.5bn during April, the China Business News reported, equivalent to about $100m every hour. At $1.76 trillion, Chinas reserves are now larger than those of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong combined.
It is possible that one day Chinas forex reserves might even top those of all other Asian countries combined, according to Brian Mak, a Hong Kong-based economist with Core Pacific Yamaichi. Much of the money represents investment inflows, and the economic conditions are much better in China than other Asian countries such as India, he said. It will continue to expand unless the government does something to curb the inflows, he said.
The growth in reserves came amid rising official concern about a fresh surge in hot money or speculative inflows spurred by a strengthening yuan and a widening spread between falling US interest rates and rising Chinese rates.
The increase in reserves was roughly three times larger than the trade surplus and the value of incoming foreign direct investment.