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The South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) dollar-denominated holdings of gold and foreign assets fell by US$78m to US$50.735bn in December‚ from US$50.813bn in November‚ data released by the bank on Tuesday showed.

Foreign exchange reserves were up $170m to $41.280bn from $41.110bn‚ while gold reserves shed $252m to $6.707bn from $6.959bn in November.

The international liquidity position declined by $483m to $47.948bn from $48.431bn in November.

At the end of December 2012‚ the gross gold and foreign exchange reserves and the international liquidity position (ILP) decreased by $78m and $483m to $50.7bn and $47.9bn‚ respectively.

The Reserve Bank noted that the decrease in the gross reserves was primarily due to the decline in the US dollar gold price which was partially off-set by the settlement of maturing foreign exchange swap transactions.

The decrease in the ILP was similarly mainly driven by the increase in foreign currency deposits received as a result of the proceeds from settling maturing foreign exchange swaps. This‚ the Reserve Bank noted‚ also influenced the decrease in the gross reserves and the forward position. - I-Net Bridge