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SAFE: 'Hot Money' Flows into Property Sector
May 26,2010 08:40CST
data analysis

BEIJING, May 26 -- Some speculative capital, or "hot money", from overseas has flown into domestic trade and investment areas, including the property sector, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said on Tuesday.

In a statement on its website, the foreign exchange regulator said an investigation begun in February had identified $7.35 billion of "hot money" flowing into China through 190 illegal cross-border transactions.

During the investigation, the administration inspected 3.47 million transaction records involving more than $440 billion in 13 provinces and cities where large volumes of forex transactions took place.

The SAFE said it had closed six cases involving illegal hot money inflows worth more than $27 million and investigations were continuing.

"Judging from the investigation data, cross-border capital flow and foreign exchange settlement in China abides by laws and regulations as a whole and we have found no organized (by corporations) and large-scale inflows of 'hot money' yet," the SAFE said.

Most speculative and arbitrage funds flowed into China via individual distribution and infiltration, according to the SAFE.

An unknown amount of "hot money" enters China every year disguised as trade and investment. The capital is betting on an appreciation of the yuan, China's currency, and a hike in assets prices.

Capital flows into and out of China for purposes other than payments related to exports and imports are strictly controlled by the SAFE, which manages China's $2.44 trillion in foreign exchange reserves.

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