U.S. dollar share of IMF reserves steady at $3.76 trillion -IMF


NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - U.S. dollar reserves held byglobal central banks were little changed in the second quarterfrom the prior quarter, data from the International MonetaryFund showed on Monday.

The dollar share of IMF reserves totaled $3.76 trillion inthe second quarter from $3.766 trillion in the first quarter,according to the IMF, or about 61.9 percent of total reserves.

Global reserves are assets of central banks held indifferent currencies primarily used to back their liabilities.Central banks have sometimes cooperated in buying and sellingofficial international reserves to influence exchange rates.

"The composition of foreign exchange reserves update revealsan expected trend," said John Kicklighter, Chief CurrencyStrategist at DailyFX in New York. "Given the period of lowgeneral volatility during the second quarter, with a fewhiccups, there is a natural inclination to diversify to abroader mix of currencies and assets to offer diversificationand perhaps modestly higher returns."

Euro reserves rose to US$1.446 trillion, or 23.8 percent ofthe total, in the second quarter from $1.431 trillion in thefirst quarter,

Since 2009, the euro's share of reserve assets has mostlybeen declining on concerns about the region's sovereign andeconomic crisis. At its peak in 2009, the euro's share ofreserves reached just under 28 percent.

The yen's share fell to 3.8 percent in the second quarter from 3.9 percent in the prior quarter.

For only the second time the IMF broke down central bankholdings in the Australian and Canadian dollars, which werepreviously classified under "Other Currencies."

Central banks held US$101 billion in the Australian currencyglobally as of the second quarter, up from US$98.5 billion inthe first quarter.

They held US108.8 billion in Canadian dollars, up fromUSD94.9 billion in the first quarter.

The Australian and Canadian dollars have been in demandsince the global financial crisis as relatively safe havens. Theaussie in particular was highly desired given its yield thoughenthusiasm has cooled compared with the loonie, based on theCOFER data.

"Perhaps the most impressive changes in the COFER data arewith the Canadian and Australian exposure, said DailyFX'sKicklighter. "Though relatively small, both continue to pullgreater percentages of total reserves."

The move by the IMF is part of a wider review to providemore transparency in global financial data. It is also areflection of a growing trend by central banks around the worldto diversify their holdings beyond the U.S. dollar, the euro andthe yen.

Allocated reserves fell to $6.07 trillion in the secondquarter, or 54.5 percent, from $6.08 trillion in the previousperiod.

Unallocated reserves, or those not known and believed mostlyheld by China, rose to $5.067 trillion in the second quarterfrom $5.007 trillion in the previous period.

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