February 22, 2010 / 2:09 PM / in 8 years

Angola FX reserves fall to $12.3 bln in December: c.bank

LUANDA (Reuters) - Angola’s foreign exchange reserves dropped to $12.3 billion in December 2009 from $12.9 billion in November, a central bank internal document showed on Monday.

<p>Stacks of one hundred dollar notes are piled up after counting at the Korea Exchange Bank in Seoul October 16, 2008. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won</p>

In 2009, the central bank lost 30 percent of its foreign exchange resrves, according to the document obtained by Reuters.

Although oil prices have more than doubled this year and are trading at around $80 per barrel, some analysts say Angola is still using some of its reserves to rebuild the nation after a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.

The central bank, Banco Nacional de Angola, announced late last year that it was increasing the amount of dollars it sells to banks at its daily auctions in a bid to strengthen the local currency, which may have also weighed on its reserves.

Angola rivals Nigeria as Africa’s biggest oil producer. It depends on the industry for over 90 percent of its foreign exchange earnings.

Banco Nacional de Angola is the target of a $137 million dollar embezzlement probe by the country’s public prosecutor in which eighteen people have been arrested, state-owned news agency Angop reported last week.

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