China remains committed to its long-standing goal of diversifying its foreign exchange reserves, a government official said on Thursday, helping to soothe markets unnerved by a report that the country was reviewing its euro-zone bond holdings.
The official, who is familiar with how the government manages its $2.4 trillion of reserves, told Reuters that the direction of diversification will not change, when asked about a report that the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) was concerned about its exposure to debt troubles in Europe.
SAFE declined to comment.
Separately, a banker who has worked with China's reserve managers said they would exercise more caution about buying the euro in the short term, but that they had few other outlets for investing their stockpile of cash -- the world's largest.
The euro, which had fallen toward a four-year low on Wednesday, jumped to a day's high after the official said China was still targeting diversification. U.S. stock futures also extended gains.
Over the past few years, when China has mentioned diversification, it was often interpreted as referring to its objective of reducing exposure to the dollar by lifting investments in other currencies, such as the euro.
Analysts say that China has been shifting some of its reserves into a wider range of currencies in recent months, including assets elsewhere in Asia and in commodity-producing countries.
A Chinese banker with a foreign firm in Beijing said that SAFE regularly sought outside opinions about the global economy and that there was nothing unusual about its setting up meetings to discuss the euro's prospects.
Marginally, I think they are concerned about what is happening in Europe and they want to reduce their risk, he said. What is happening in Europe is very uncertain and that is what they want to avoid. At the end of the day, these guys are bureaucrats.