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Chinese bank forex surplus hits 273.7 bln USD in H1

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BEIJING, July 25 (Xinhua) -- China's foreign exchange watchdog said Monday that the surplus of Chinese banks' foreign exchange from bank-to-client transactions reached 273.7 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of 2011.

During the period, institutional and individual clients sold 788.2 billion U.S. dollars in foreign exchange to banks while purchasing 514.4 billion U.S. dollars, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in an online statement.

More foreign currencies were sold than bought through Chinese banks over the May-to-June period as the yuan continued to appreciate, resulting in 43 billion U.S. dollars of foreign exchange surplus in June compared with 51.9 billion U.S. dollars in May, the statement said.

In June, institutional and individual clients exchanged 143.6 billion U.S. dollars in foreign currencies through banks and purchased 100.5 billion U.S. dollars, it said.

The banks received 217.7 billion U.S. dollars of overseas business-related proceeds in June and paid 174 billion U.S. dollars for their clients during the period, leaving a surplus of 43.7 billion U.S. dollars, the statement noted.

In the first half of the year, overseas business-related proceeds from the banks' clients totaled 1.09 trillion U.S. dollars while payments stood at 916.6 billion U.S. dollars, resulting a surplus of 177 billion U.S. dollars, it added.

Foreign exchange surpluses, which make up part of the country's foreign exchange reserves together with current account surpluses and foreign direct investment inflow, do not include banks' own foreign exchange transactions or interbank transactions, according to SAFE.

Last year, foreign exchange surpluses created through Chinese banks' transactions with domestic clients increased 51 percent year-on-year to reach 397.7 billion U.S. dollars, the SAFE data showed.

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