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ECB swaps some dollar reserves for renminbi
by Staff Writers
Frankfurt Am Main (AFP) June 13, 2017

The European Central Bank said Tuesday it had exchanged part of its US dollar reserves for Chinese renminbi for the first time, in a sign of the growing global importance of Beijing's currency.

The Frankfurt institution "completed an investment equivalent to 500 million euros ($560 million) of the ECB's foreign reserves in Chinese renminbi (CNY) during the first half of 2017," it said in a statement.

Justifying its decision, the ECB said that "the use of CNY as a global international currency has increased in recent years," being declared a freely-usable currency by the IMF in 2015.

"The ECB's investment also reflects the importance of China as one of the euro area's largest trading partners," it added.

Its purchase of the Chinese cash was paid for with "a small portion of its US dollar holdings, which remain the largest portfolio," it added.

The ECB's foreign reserves, held in US dollars, Japanese yen, Chinese renminbi, and International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), remained at the same overall size.

Figures released last month showed that the ECB's official reserves stood at over 68 billion euros at the end of April, including 47.7 billion euros in foreign currencies and 18.8 billion euros in gold.

The ECB only publishes figures on its holdings of individual currencies in its annual report at the end of each year.

In December 2016, the central bank held $46.8 billion in US dollars (41.7 billion euros), and 1.1 trillion Japanese yen (8.8 billion euros).

Crown staff charged in China gambling crackdown
Sydney (AFP) June 13, 2017
Up to 18 staff from Australian billionaire James Packer's Crown Resorts have been charged with promoting gambling in China, eight months after being detained, the company said Tuesday. The marketing employees were seized in raids across China in October, including an executive in charge of luring rich Chinese to Australia, as Beijing cracks down on high-roller gambling promotions. Crown ... read more

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