Belarus cbank reserves fall to $3.7 bln in March

MINSK, April 6 (Reuters) - Belarus' foreign currency reserves fell to $3.761 billion as of April 1 -- the lowest point in two years -- from $4.023 billion on March 1, the central bank said on Wednesday.

Faced with rapidly declining reserves, the central bank halted foreign currency sales in mid-March as the government asked Russia and other ex-Soviet states for a $3 billion bailout package.

The bank has restarted forex sales this month but has said it would only sell as much as it can buy and would not deplete reserves -- which now cover only about one month of imports -- any further.

"Net foreign currency purchases by the population amounted to $768.1 million last month," the bank said in a statement.

It has also allowed the Belarussian rouble to devalue by 10 percent from the official rate on the over-the-counter market but analysts say it remains illiquid and further devaluation may be needed. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by Patrick Graham)


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