Foreign Exchange Reserves of the World: US, Australia, China, Japan

Submitted by Craig Strzelecki on 18 January, 2006 - 18:40

Foreign Exchange Reserve Holding Figures from US, Australia, China, Japan

Get ready to see some very large monetary figures thrown at you. Welcome to the world of Foreign Exchange Reserve Holdings for individual countries.

Last month (December 2005) the Reserve Bank of Australia held $56 billion worth of foreign exchange reserves.

China's foreign exchange reserves will probably cross the $US1 trillion mark this year, surpassing those of Japan and making it the No. 1 global holder of reserves after its holdings rose by more than one-third in 2005 to a record $US818.9 billion ($1.1 trillion).

Japan's foreign exchange reserves stood at $US846.9 billion as at the end of December.

The announcement by the People's Bank of China of the large jump in China's forex holdings is likely to lead to more pressure for a revaluation of the yuan, which critics claim is undervalued and gives China's exporters an unfair edge in global markets.

China is believed to hold the bulk of its foreign exchange reserves in US dollar denominated assets. Its holdings of US Treasury bills stood at $US247 billion at the end of October making it the second-largest foreign holder after Japan.

China's foreign reserves have almost tripled since the end of 2002, lifted by about $US170 billion of foreign investment over the period and a cumulative trade surplus of $US160 billion in addition to the inflow of speculative capital betting on a rising currency. Beijing also announced yesterday that the broadest measure of money supply, M2, grew 17.6 per cent last year, compared with an official target of 15 per cent. The target for M2 growth this year is 16 per cent.

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