China’s central bank on Saturday said the country’s foreign exchange reserves rose by 16% year-on-year in March to US$1.95 trillion, the AP reported. However, a slowing economy and export sector resulted in a sharp decline in growth of China’s foreign currency holdings, which grew by US$7.7 billion in the first quarter, US$146.2 billion less than during the same period last year. It was China’s smallest gain in reserves since the second quarter of 2001. Data issued by the customs agency on Friday showed that China’s exports fell 17% year-on-year in March, marking the fifth straight month of decline, but a rebound from February’s 25.7%. With imports falling by 25.7% year-on-year in March, China’s trade surplus widened to US$18.6 billion from US$4.8 billion in February.