China Dec fx reserves rise to $3.14 trln, highest since Sept 2016 - central bank


BEIJING, Jan 7 (Reuters) - China's foreign exchange reserves rose to their highest in more than a year in December and grew at a faster-than-expected pace, as tight regulations and a strong yuan continued to discourage capital outflows, data showed on Sunday.

Notching up their 11th straight month of gains, reserves rose $20.2 billion in December to $3.14 trillion, the highest since September 2016 and the biggest monthly increase since July, central bank data showed on Sunday.

That compares with an increase of $10 billion in November.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected reserves to rise by $6 billion to $3.125 trillion.

Capital flight had been seen as a major risk for China at the start of 2017, but a combination of tighter capital controls and a faltering dollar helped the yuan stage a strong turnaround, bolstering confidence in the economy.

The yuan rose around 6.8 percent against the greenback in 2017, recovering from a 6.5 percent loss in 2016 and reversing three straight years of depreciation.

The value of gold reserves rose to $76.47 billion at the end of December, from $75.833 billion at the end of November, data on the PBOC website also showed. (Reporting by Josephine Mason, Meng Meng and Cheng Fang; Editing by Himani Sarkar)