Sat Jan 7, 2017 10:42AM

China’s foreign exchange reserves dropped by $320 billion in 2016 with Chinese authorities seeking to support the yuan against a soaring dollar.

According to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), China’s foreign exchange reserves fell to $3.011 trillion at the end of December, the lowest level in nearly 6 years.

World’s largest forex reserves plummeted by $41 billion dollars in December from the previous month, SAFE announced on Saturday.

China’s vast reserves had slipped by $46 billion in October and nearly $70 billion in November.

Chinese authorities say Beijing’s efforts to support its currency against a soaring dollar have been the main reason behind the significant drop.

"The central bank's efforts to stabilize the yuan are the main reason why the reserves have fallen," last year, said a SAFE official.

The yuan is now trading at its lowest level in eight years against the dollar.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) has already fixed the yuan midpoint at 6.9498 per dollar as part of measures to stop the outflow of capital.

Earlier on Friday, SAFE declared that it would step up its crackdown on foreign exchange irregularities in 2017, including underground banking.

SAFE head Pan Gongsheng said certain measures would be taken to strengthen management of cross-border capital flow, and make further reforms to facilitate trade and investment in order to better serve the real economy.