China's reserves top US $500bn in 2004

China's foreign exchange reserves hit a record US$609.9 billion in 2004, soaring at a rate of US$206.7 billion over 2003, according to the People's Bank of China.

Starting with US$145 billion in early 1999, the foreign exchange reserves increased month by month to reach US$165.574 billion by the end of 2000, up to US$212.165 billion by the end of 2001, up again to US$286.407 billion by the end of 2002 and nearly doubled to US$403.251 billion by the end of 2003.

Statistics show that the seven mo

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