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Hungary international reserves drop €128 mln in March

Hungary's international reserves stood at €34.642 billion at the end of March, dropping €128 million from the end of February, preliminary data published by the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) on Friday show.

End-of-March reserves were down €3.132 billion from the end of December 2011 and dropped €1.05 billion from a year earlier.

No major foreign bond or loan repayments were due in March.

The main factors behind the sharp first-quarter drop of the reserves were a principal repayment worth more than €600 million on Hungary's late-2008 IMF/EU international package in February, and the MNB's euro sales to banks in relation to a government sponsored FX mortgage early repayment scheme, worth €1.62 billion in the period. 

The MNB sold a total of €2.49 billion to banks to help them cover their fx liquidity needs related to the scheme operated between the end of last September and the end of February, of which €1.62 billion was sold in January-February.

In dollar terms, international reserves dropped $600 million in March to $46.208 billion at the end of last month.

Dollar-term reserves fell $2.623 billion from the end of December and were $4.526 billion lower than at the end of March 2011.