BEIJING, April 24 (Xinhua) -- China's yuan funds outstanding for foreign exchange increased by 124.7 billion yuan (19.79 billion U.S. dollars) in March to total 25.65 trillion yuan, the central bank said Tuesday.
This means the central bank bought 124.7 billion yuan worth of foreign exchange from commercial banks last month to offset the same amount of foreign exchange inflow, comprised of trade surplus and overseas speculative money, as Renminbi is inconvertible under the capital account.
It was the third consecutive monthly increase after 25.1 billion yuan in February and 140.9 billion yuan in January, according to a statement issued by the People's Bank of China.
However, the monthly gap is visibly drastic, as the central bank noted. Before the monthly increase appeared in January, the figure had been declining in the fourth quarter last year.
Analysts said the reversed downward trend this year was because of eased concern about the eurozone debt morass and a pick-up in expectations for further appreciation of the yuan.
The volatile capital inflow also points to pick-up of the inflow of speculative money, analysts said.
The State Administration of Foreign Exchange, the country's top foreign exchange regulator, said it will step up efforts to crack down on "abnormal" cross-border capital flow this year in a bid to protect the country's economic and financial security.