Markets News

U.S. dollar share of FX reserves steady at 60 pct -IMF data

NEW YORK, July 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar remained the currency of choice among global central banks in the first quarter with a share of more than 60 percent of the total reserves, according to data from the International Monetary Fund released earlier this week.

The dollar share of IMF reserves totaled $3.763 trillion, or 60.9 percent of the total allocated reserves, little changed from the last quarter of 2013.

Global total foreign exchange holdings rose to a record $11.864 trillion in the first quarter from $11.685 trillion at the end of last year.

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

The euro’s share of reserves was steady at 24.4 percent, totaling $1.523 trillion, though lower than the 2009 peak of 28 percent.

The yen’s share edged higher to 3.9 percent in the first quarter from 3.8 percent in the previous quarter.

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$107.2 billion in the Australian currency globally as of the first quarter, up from US$103.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.

They held US$117.4 billion in Canadian dollars, up from US$$114.4 billion previously.

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 yield.

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 the yen. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)