OPE-L Asian FX reserves at $2.1 trillion

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Tue Mar 09 2004 - 11:57:29 EST


Monday, March 8, 2004

Asian reserves at $2.1 trillion, Singapore tops $100 bn

Singapore, March 8

Asian foreign exchange reserves have grown strongly at the start of 2004,
rising by over $164 billion to $2.073 trillion in the first two months of
the year, according to figures from the region's central banks.

Figures on Monday showed Singapore's reserve holdings rose by $2.5 billion
in February to $101.1 billion -- making it the seventh Asian economy after
Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and India to hold over $100
billion in reserves.

With China and Hong Kong yet to report figures for February, Asian reserve
holdings have risen 8.6 per cent since the end of 2003.

On Friday, Japan said its reserves rose by $35.7 billion to $776.9 billion.
Japan's reserves have increased by $103.4 billion, or 15.4 per cent, in the
first two months of 2004. Its reserves rose by $203.8 billion in all of

The build-up of Asian forex reserves, mostly in US dollars, largely reflects
intervention by the region's monetary authorities to prevent strong
portfolio inflows and rising export receipts from strengthening their

The intervention has continued despite criticism of the policy from the
Group of Seven leading industrial nations.

Analysts have said while holdings remain mostly in US dollars, there have
been some signs that Asian central banks are starting to diversify into more
euro-denominated assets.

 Hindustan Times Ltd. 2004.

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