China's foreign exchange reserves rose to their highest in more than a year in late December, blowing past economists' estimates, as tight regulations and a strong yuan continued to discourage capital outflows, central bank data showed on Sunday.
Notching up their 11th straight month of gains, reserves rose $20.2 billion in December 2017 to $3.14 trillion, the highest since September 2016 and the biggest monthly increase since July 2017. That compares with an increase of $10 billion in November 2017.
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.
For the full year, China's foreign exchange reserves rose $129.5 billion from $3.011 trillion at the end of 2016.
That's the first annual rise since 2014.
China's foreign exchange regulator said in a statement on its website that it would keep the nation's forex reserves and international balance of payments "balanced and stable" in 2018.
The country's reserves dropped by nearly $1 trillion from a peak of $3.99 trillion in June 2014 to $2.998 trillion in January 2017 as it sought to shore up the yuan and reduce potentially destabilizing capital outflows. But reserves have since climbed by $142 billion.