NBS: Foreign exchange reserves at end-March € 24.9 billion

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The National Bank of Serbia (NBS) said Friday that its gross foreign exchange (FX) reserves amounted to 24,942.1 mn euros at end-March 2024, down by 89.3 mn euros from a month earlier.

This covers 171.1 percent of money supply M1 and 6.7 months’ worth of the country’s imports of goods and services, which is more than twice the level prescribed by the adequacy standard, said the NBS in a press release.

“Net FX reserves (gross FX reserves less banks’ FX balances on account of required reserves, liabilities to the IMF under the arrangement, and other grounds) came at 20,679.0 mn euros, down by 127.2 mn euros from end-February,” said the Serbian central bank.

It explained that the decrease in gross FX reserves in March is attributable primarily to the net government debt repayment in respect of FX loans (221.7 mn euros), the settlement of other government FX liabilities, and other grounds (115.3 mn euros).

Outflows from FX reserves were also triggered by NBS interventions, even though the NBS bought 20 mn euros net in March.

Downward pressure on FX reserves came from the sale of foreign exchange in the amount of 175 mn euros, while the purchase of foreign exchange, executed on the last two business days of March in the amount of 195 mn euros exerted an upward pressure in early April, said the NBS.

The largest inflow to FX reserves in March came from the allocation of banks’ FX required reserves (53 mn euros).

Inflows also stemmed from FX reserve management, grants, interest and coupon payments and other sources (82.7 mn euros in total).

The positive net effect of market factors worth 287 mn euros, mainly reflecting the rise in the price of gold by around 8.1 percent and dollar’s appreciation against the euro by around 0.5 percent in the international market, mitigated the reduction in gross FX reserves.

Trading volumes in the IFEM came at 773.6 mn euros in March, up by 199.7 mn euros from February.

In the first three months of the year, trading volumes in the International Foreign Exchange Market (IFEM) totaled 2,001.9 mn euros.

The central bank said that, since early 2024, including in March, the value of the dinar against the euro has stayed broadly unchanged.

The NBS bought 20 mn euros net in the IFEM in March.

Since the beginning of the year, the NBS bought 320 mn euros net, in order to maintain the relative stability of the dinar against the euro.