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Hungary international reserves rise €2bn in December

Hungary’s international reserves stood at €37.775bn at the end of December, up €2.004bn from a month earlier, rising to the second highest level after an all-time high of €38.76bn at the end of September 2011, preliminary data published by the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) on Friday show.

International reserves were up €4.10bn from the end of 2010.

The data show that foreign exchange reserves rose 1.562bn in December after dropping €865m in the previous month and reached €35.115bn, and "other reserve assets" also rose, by €440.9m to €1.804bn after a fall of €220m in November.

In dollars, the international reserves stood at $48.832bn at the end of December, up $1.332bn in a month and up $3.844bn from the end of 2010.

There were no big foreign exchange maturites in December.

The sharp rise in the reserves came as a surprise considering the MNB’s sales of euros to banks from its international reserves for forints to help them to the FX liquidity necessary in a government-sponsored FX mortgage repayment scheme. These euro sales alone could have cut the reserves by almost €460m in December, Econews calculated, based on PSZAF figures of repayments of HUF 339bn at market prices in December and assuming that banks financed an unchanged 46% of the repayments through euros bought from the MNB.

International reserves were boosted by unusually high EU transfers, a significant rise in the mark-to-market deposits of the Government Debt Management Agency (AKK) and the year-end rise of short-term deposits placed with the central bank, the financial website portfolio.hu reported citing information of the MNB press department.