Lebanon's foreign currency reserves declined 0.6% m/m but held virtually flat in annual terms at LBP 53 .2tn ( USD 35.4bn ) at end-December 2013 , central bank data showed on Jan 3 . The annual expansion has faded in recent months on higher commercial demand for USD-denominated transactions and strong central bank presence on the money market to keep the local currency stable. The central bank had LBP 16 .74tn worth of gold assets at end-December down from LBP 17 .34tn the month before on lower gold prices. The bank calculates its gold assets at current market prices which reached USD 1.232 per ounce on Jan 3 . The central bank's securities portfolio totalled LBP 18 .4tn, up from LBP 18 .13tn at end-November, as the bank remained active on the T-bills market. As in the previous month, the central bank did not provide loans to the public sector as the caretaker cabinet refrains from transferring money. The value of loans to the financial sector, however, rose to LBP 3 .47tn from LBP 3 .31tn at end-November as domestic private-sector activity remained strong. Total central bank assets retreated to LBP 116 .1tn at end-December from LBP 118 .03tn a month earlier mainly on lower gold position and the lack of lending to the public sector.
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