BEIJING (Reuters) - Pressure on China's cross-border capital outflows has gradually eased, China's foreign exchanged regulator said on Monday, after data showed commercial banks' foreign exchange sales dropped in May.

China's commercial banks sold a net $12.5 billion worth of foreign exchange in May, versus net sales of $23.7 billion in April, data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) showed.

"This year, China's cross-border capital outflow pressure has eased, better reflecting the economy's fundamentals," SAFE said in a statement on its website.

Both Chinese companies and individuals are less willing to keep foreign exchange, the regulator added, citing data that outstanding foreign currency deposits in China declined by $8.8 billion in May compared with an increase of $900 million in April.

Companies' efforts to deleverage their foreign debt also slowed, SAFE said.

Net forex sales totalled $161.0 billion in the first five months, the regulator said on its website.

China's central bank sold a net 53.7 billion yuan worth of foreign exchange in May, earlier data showed, easing from net sales of 54.4 billion yuan in April.

China's foreign exchange reserves fell by $27.9 billion in May to $3.19 trillion, their lowest since December 2011, likely due to the effects of a stronger dollar and sporadic official intervention.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)