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Belarus' gold and foreign-exchange reserves totaled $3.0611 billion as of January 1, 2009, a decline of $1.1211 billion or 26.8% from January 1, 2008, the National Bank said in a statistical report.

In December 2008 the reserves decreased by $714.3 million or 18.9%.

Deposits with nonresidents declined 32.6% to $2.6055 billion, including a 21.9% drop in December. Monetary gold deposited in foreign banks increased 60% to $374.1 million, including an increase of 6.2% in December 2008. Other reserves declined 6.4% to $80.5 million.

Gold and forex reserves in the national definition amounted to $3.6622 billion on January 1, 2009, a decline of $1.3305 billion or 26.6% from a year earlier.

National-definition reserves declined by $882 million or 19.4% in December. Deposits with nonresidents declined by $1.2807 billion or 31.5% to $2.7789 billion, including a 24.5% drop in December.

The value of gold included in the national-definition reserves fell 39.1% to $193.8 million. The combined value of precious metals and gems in the reserves declined 5.3% to $801.6 million, including $183 million for other metals (down 28%) and $50.5 million for gems (up 14.5%). Other reserves were lower by 5.2% at $81.7 million.

The National Bank said the decline was a result of interventions to cover foreign currency shortfalls on the domestic exchange.

In 2007, Belarus posted a tripling of its IMF-definition gold and forex reserves, which rose to $4.1822 billion. The national-definition reserves increased 190% to $4.9976 billion.

The bank had planned to increase IMF-definition gold and forex reserves in 2008 by at least $280 million and raise national-definition reserves to $5.5 billion.

The National Bank currently has about 27 tonnes of gold reserves.

It was reported earlier that the government reached agreement with the IMF on a 15-month economic program under which Belarus will receive a stabilization loan of about $2.5 billion.

Belarus sought the loan in order to replenish reserves and create a cushion to weather the global financial crisis, the National Bank said.

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