September 30, 2014 / 3:59 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. dlr share of central bank FX reserves steady in Q2 -IMF

(Rewrites throughout to add IMF release of currency holdings by central banks worldwide)

NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar share of global central banks’ currency reserves was a little more than 60 percent in the second quarter of 2014, according International Monetary Fund data released on Tuesday.

The greenback’s share of FX reserves was $3.830 trillion, or about 60.6 percent of total allocated reserves, roughly the same as the first quarter. At the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, the dollar’s share of global currency reserves was about 63 percent.

Currency holdings of global central banks rose to a record $12 trillion in the second quarter from $11.859 trillion in the first three months of the year.

Global reserves are assets of central banks held in different currencies primarily used to back their liabilities. Central banks have sometimes bought and sold official international reserves to influence exchange rates.

The euro’s share of reserves edged lower to 24.2 percent, totaling $1.527 trillion in the second quarter. In the first quarter, the euro’s share was at 24.4 percent, while at its peak in 2009, its share of allocated reserves was 28 percent.

The yen’s share edged higher to 4.0 percent in the second quarter from 3.9 percent in the first.

The IMF also broke out central bank holdings in the Australian and Canadian dollars, which were previously classified under “Other Currencies.”

Central banks held US$120.1 billion in the Australian currency globally as of the second quarter, up from US$117.4 billion in the previous quarter. Australian dollar reserves have risen 17 percent over the last 12 months.

Central banks held US$127.3 billion in Canadian dollars, up from US$$119.4 billion previously. Over the last year, Canadian dollar holdings have risen 17 percent as well.

The Australian and Canadian dollars have been in demand since the global financial crisis as relative safe havens. The Aussie in particular was highly desired given its high yield relative to other currencies in the developed world.

The move by the IMF earlier this year to disclose holdings in the Australian and Canadian dollars is part of a wider review to provide more transparency in global financial data. It is also a reflection of a growing trend by central banks around the world to diversify their holdings beyond the U.S. dollar, the euro, and yen.

Meanwhile, unallocated reserves, or those reserves not known and believed to be mostly held by China, rose to $5.687 trillion in the second quarter from $5.532 trillion previously. That represented 47.4 percent of total foreign exchange holdings.

China reportedly holds between 65 percent to 75 percent of its reserves in U.S. dollars, analysts said. At the end of the second quarter, China’s FX reserves rose to nearly $4 trillion, according to data from China’s central bank.

The IMF data provides only limited insight into shifts in the composition of central bank holdings because it does not show one-third of the world’s reserves. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Grant McCool)

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