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Lebanon’s foreign currency reserves contract in January

LCB’s foreign assets increased by 6.28 per cent, higher than end of January 2015’s reading of $35.62 billion

Lebanon’s foreign currency reserves decreased to $37.86 billion at the end of January 2015, Credit Libanais reports citing the Lebanese Central Bank (LCB).

LCB in its bi-weekly balance sheet issued this week, says foreign currency reserves decreased by $181.11 million from $38.04bn as of mid-January.

However, LCB’s value of gold reserves added $67.60m during the second half of January 2015 to $11.66bn.

This came on the back of fears of another sovereign debt crisis in the European Union in light of the Greek elections that fuelled demand for safe-haven instruments, pushing gold prices to a six-week high.

On an annual basis, LCB’s foreign assets increased by 6.28 per cent, higher than end of January 2015’s reading of $35.62bn.

The value of gold reserves, on the other hand, increased by $0.20bn (1.74 per cent) year-on- year from $11.46bn as at end of January 2014.

Overall, total reserves (foreign currency and gold) at LCB added $2.43bn y-o-y to settle at $49.52bn at end of January 2015, up from $47.09bn a year before.

Total reserves cover some 29 months of imports, 145 months of debt service and represent 74.32 per cent and 87.34 per cent of Lebanon’s gross and net public debt respectively.