China's central bank launched spot checks on leading bitcoin exchanges in Beijing and Shanghai, ratcheting up pressure on potential capital outflows and knocking the price of the cryptocurrency down more than 12% against the dollar.
The head of a major bitcoin exchange in China says few people there use the cryptocurrency to get around rules on how much money they can take out of the country, and despite a publicized meeting with the central bank last week the exchange, BTCC, hasn't been told explicitly to check capital outflows.
China's economy is on a steady growth path as 2016 ends, supported by a housing boom and billions in government investment, but the mood of policymakers is more cautious than celebratory as they face "complexity" in the new year.
China issued detailed rules on Wednesday allowing foreign central banks, sovereign wealth funds and international financial institutions to participate in interbank foreign exchange trading in the country.
The dollar jumped one percent against a basket of major currencies on Tuesday and recovered from seven-month lows against the safe-haven yen and euro as riskier assets got a boost from an interest rate cut by the Chinese central bank.
China's central bank cut interest rates and lowered the amount of reserves banks must hold for the second time in two months on Tuesday, ratcheting up support for a stuttering economy and a plunging stock market that has sent shockwaves around the globe.