China's Jan forex reserves rise to $3.115 trillion

BEIJING, Feb 7 (Reuters) - China's foreign exchange reserves unexpectedly rose in January as the yuan firmed after Beijing and Washington signed an initial trade deal, defusing an 18-month row that weighed on global growth.

The country's foreign exchange reserves -- the world's largest -- rose $7.57 billion in January to $3.115 trillion, central bank data showed on Friday.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the reserves would fall by $7.92 billion to $3.100 trillion, likely due to fluctuations in global exchange rates and the prices of foreign bonds that China holds.

Strict capital controls have helped China keep outflows under control over the past year despite the trade war with the United States and weakening economic growth at home. Rising foreign investment in Chinese stocks and bonds have also seen growth in inflows.

The yuan rose 0.38% against the dollar in January, but it fell 1% between Jan. 20 and Jan. 23 amid mounting worries about the impact from a coronavirus outbreak that started in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

The dollar rose about 1% in January against a basket of other major currencies.

China held 62.64 million fine troy ounces of gold at the end of January, unchanged from 62.64 million ounces at the end of 2019.

The value of China's gold reserves rose to $99.24 billion at the end of January from $95.406 billion at the end of 2019.

(Reporting by Judy Hua and Kevin Yao; Editing by Kim Coghill)