The Chinese Year of the Monkey has started today, kicking off a week of public holidays in China during which all trading will be suspended. This vacation may be a nice breather for the struggling economy whose foreign reserves posted losses for the third straight month in January, with the Chinese central bank freeing itself of dollars to prevent money from flowing out of the country.

China’s foreign reserves fell to $3.23 trillion in the first month of 2016, to the lowest level since May 2012. The drop of $99.5 billion was not as great as that in the prior month, December 2015, in which the Chinese central bank increased its efforts to support the yuan Chinese reserves dropped $342.3 billion in the entirety of 2015, complicated by increased dollar buying by Chinese citizens as the yuan began to plummet. The situation was further aggravated by local companies trying to repay foreign debt during the recent currency storm.

China’s gold reserves rose to $63.57 according to the People’s Bank of billion at the end of January, up from $60.19 billion at the end of 2015.

Elsewhere in Asia

Though most Asian markets were closed today in deference to the Chinese New Year, those that were open in Australia and Japan opened the Year of the Monkey on a somewhat higher note. The dollar yen pair gained 0.39 percent to 117.35, briefly hitting above the 120 level during the day’s trading. The finance and banking sectors in both Japan and Australia were the hardest hit on Monday with the leading banks ending broadly lower in light of the Bank of Japan’s recent announcement that it will introduce negative interest rates.

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