Monday, May 9, 2011

Central Banks Showing More Trust In Gold

Central banks, or more formally the official sector, have been net buyers of gold since 2009. The latest central bank to buy gold in a big way was the Banco de Mexico, which bought more than 90 tonnes. In an address to the New York Hard Assets Investment Conference of 2011, Jeffrey Nichols said that the People's Bank of China, the central bank of Saudi Arabia and Asian central banks have been adding gold. More significantly, European central banks have stopped selling theirs. The last major sale of any consequence from the official was the IMF sale of 2009.
Net official purchases may have totaled as much as 100 to 200 tons in each of the past two years, even allowing for the IMF's 403-ton gold sales program, which ended some months ago.

Officially published data on central-bank gold transactions are not to be believed as some countries buy gold surreptitiously, choosing not to report purchases, and data on sovereign wealth fund gold investments are, for the most part, unreported. So, it's not possible to get an exact reckoning of net annual purchases or sales by the official sector.

China, for example, announced just about two years ago that its central bank had purchased 454 tons in the prior six years – but chose not to report these purchases until April 2009. Some observers, myself included, believe that China continues to buy significant quantities on a regular basis, possibly 100 tons or more annually, some, if not all, from domestic mine production....
He concludes by saying that, even if the central bank of Portugal has to sell gold because of the Portugese government's debt woes, the gold will find ready buyers.

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