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South Africa’s Gross Reserves Drop Most Since September

South African gold and foreign currency reserves dropped the most in six months as the price of bullion declined and the dollar gained against major currencies, reducing the value of those holdings.

Gross reserves fell 2.3 percent to $50.7 billion in March from the previous month, the Pretoria-based central bank said on its website today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of five economists was $51.6 billion. Net reserves declined to $48.9 billion from $49.6 billion.

“The significant decrease in the gross reserves largely reflects liquidity management operations of the Bank and valuation adjustments due to a lower gold price and the appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the major currencies,” the central bank said in the statement.

Gold declined for a second month in March. Gold reserves, which account for about 14 percent of gross holdings at the central bank, fell $476 million to $6.7 billion. The dollar gained against 12 of the 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg, driving the value of the bank’s holdings of yen and other currencies lower.

The rand was little changed at 7.8748 per dollar at 8:22 a.m. in Johannesburg, from 7.8788 before the data was released. The currency has gained 2.7 percent this year.

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