SNB's forex reserves slightly down in December

ZURICH Mon Jan 7, 2013 3:09am EST

ZURICH Jan 7 (Reuters) - The Swiss National Bank's foreign exchange reserves fell slightly for a third month running in December, data showed on Monday, as the franc hovered above the 1.20 per euro limit the central bank imposed in September 2011.

The SNB held 427.171 billion Swiss francs in foreign currency at the end of December, compared with a revised 427.378 billion for November, preliminary data calculated according to the standards of the International Monetary Fund showed.

The SNB's reserve data is closely watched by investors for signs of how much the bank is spending to defend the 1.20 limit, set in September 2011. At times, the SNB had to intervene with huge sums to protect the limit as investors worried about sovereign debts in Europe bid up the safe haven franc.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz)