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U.S. dollar share of global currency reserves at lowest since 2013: IMF data

Reuters logo Reuters 9/30/2019 By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
a hand holding a piece of paper: An employee counts U.S. dollar bills at a money exchange office in central Cairo© Reuters/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY An employee counts U.S. dollar bills at a money exchange office in central Cairo

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

(Reuters) - The U.S. dollar's share of currency reserves reported to the International Monetary Fund fell in the second quarter to its lowest level since the end of 2013, while the yen's share of reserves grew to the largest in nearly two decades, data released on Monday showed.

a close up of a newspaper: FILE PHOTO: South Korean won, Chinese yuan and Japanese yen notes are seen on U.S. 100 dollar notes in this picture illustration taken in Seoul© Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji FILE PHOTO: South Korean won, Chinese yuan and Japanese yen notes are seen on U.S. 100 dollar notes in this picture illustration taken in Seoul

Reserves held in U.S. dollars totaled $6.79 trillion, or 61.63% of allocated reserves, in the second quarter, compared with $6.74 trillion, or 61.86%, in the first quarter.

This was the greenback's smallest share of overall reserves since the fourth quarter of 2013 when it was 61.27%.

Total allocated reserves increased to $11.02 trillion in the second quarter from $10.90 trillion in the previous quarter.

Global reserves are assets of central banks held in different currencies, primarily used to support their liabilities. Central banks sometimes use reserves to help support their respective currencies.

(GRAPHIC: Currency composition of FX reserves: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/12/6747/6678/Pasted%20Image.jpg)

The share of foreign exchange reserves in the Japanese yen, the euro and the Chinese yuan all increased from the previous quarter, extending a recent trend where the dollar's share of currency reserves has declined at the expense of these currencies.

"With the yuan becoming a reserve currency with the IMF's blessing, it means loans and things that were not denominated in yuan are now prevalent," said Juan Perez, senior currency trader with Tempus Inc in Washington.

"Additionally, euro and yen increased in the reserves of other banks who saw the euro as a safe-haven because of the European Central Bank's commitment to the currency, while the yen's safe-haven status made it more attractive with every scare or potential for regression in economic progress," Perez said.

The U.S. dollar remains the world's dominant reserve currency but central banks around the globe appeared to continue to diversify their reserves away from the greenback.

The yen's share of global allocated currency reserves rose to 5.41% in the second quarter of 2019 to the largest since the first quarter of 2001.

The share of allocated currency reserves held in yuan, also known as renminbi, rose to 1.97%, the highest since the IMF began reporting its share of central bank holdings in the fourth quarter of 2016.

(Reporting by Richard Leong and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Ed Osmond and Lisa Shumaker)

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