Thursday, April 2, 2009

Romania cbank reserves down at 25.1 bln euros

BUCHAREST, April 1 (Reuters) - The Romanian central bank's hard currency reserves, excluding 103.7 tonnes of gold, fell 796 million euros to 25.1 billion euros ($33.17 billion) in March, central bank data showed on Wednesday.

Inflows stood at 3.519 billion euros, coming mainly from changes in the minimum reserve requirement on hard currency liabilities for commercial banks, inflows in the finance ministry's account, transactions on the interbank market and income from foreign reserves management.

Outflows totalled 4.315 billion euros, reflecting changes in the minimum reserve requirement and payments from the European Commission account, interbank transactions, payments to service Romania's public external debt.'The decrease recorded in March 2009 was mainly due to the evolution of the exchange rate of euro versus the U.S. dollar and the Sterling pound,' the central bank said in a statement.About 65 percent of the reserves consist of assets denominated in euros, 27.5 percent are denominated in dollars, 7 percent are denominated in pounds and 0.5 percent in other currencies.

Over the last several months, dealers and economists have suspected the central bank intervened sporadically as economic concerns weighed on the leu currency. The central bank has declined to comment on this year's suspicions of intervention.The leu lost roughly 5 percent against the euro this year, far less than the Hungarian forint and the Polish zloty.

Last week, Romania secured a 20 billion euro IMF-led aid package. The first tranche is expected to come from the IMF and feed reserves with 5 billion euros in May.Payments due to service external public and publicly guaranteed debt totalled 85 million euros. 

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