Uzbekistan says has about $20 bln gold, forex reserves

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TASHKENT, July 26 (Reuters) - Uzbekistan's gold and foreign currency reserves stand at about $20 billion, covering two years of imports, senior officials said on Wednesday, disclosing a figure previously unreported.

The Central Asian nation, which is preparing to liberalise its foreign exchange regulations, does not publish its reserve data on a regular basis.

Asked about the reserves in a televised news conference, deputy Finance Minister Mubin Mirzayev said: "I don't know the exact figures, but is about $20 billion."

First deputy central bank chairman Saidkamol Khodjaev, who was present at the same briefing, said: "Our reserves are equal to two years' worth of our imports."

The International Monetary Fund this week describes Uzbekistan's reserves as "ample", which would allow the Tashkent government to implement the foreign exchange reform "from a position of strength".

Uzbekistan, Central Asia's most populous nation and second-biggest economy, has for decades maintained tight currency controls which businessmen and officials say are the main obstacle to foreign investment.

Source: Reuters

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