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China Increases its Gold Reserves by 75% - April 2009
China quietly builds gold reserve, to over one thousand tonnes, or almost double, secretly, and from domestic production.
It has been widely reported this week, that China has built up its gold reserves, very quietly over the past six years, and has managed to do so quietly because it has bought up domestic mine production. It has for some time been rumoured, and we ourselves have commented that it would be an obvious move for China to reduce its dollar reserve holdings, in favour of other, more dependable assets, particularly gold.
It turns out those inscrutable Chinese have been doing so all along.
BBC Monday 27th April 2009
China has reported that it has been secretly increasing its gold reserves.
It was able to keep it secret by buying domestically produced metal, almost doubling the amount of gold it holds to more than 1,000 tons.
China has the biggest foreign exchange reserves in the world, totalling almost $2,000bn (£1.373bn).
An estimated two thirds is held in US dollars, though China has been backing away from the dollar as a reserve currency for a while.
Three years ago Beijing broke the peg that linked its currency, the renminbi, and the dollar.
Then, just before the London G20 summit earlier this month, China suggested that the time might have come for countries to reduce their reliance on the US dollar as a reserve currency.
The Chinese move has given a small boost to the gold price, up $5.50 (£3.77) at $913 an ounce in London and a big boost to those traditional investors who believe that gold is still the safest store of value.
However, bullion market experts say China's gold holdings are still far smaller than those of the US and other developed countries, and it was still buying US dollars.
LONDON, April 27 (Reuters)
China revealed on Friday it had secretly raised its gold
reserves by three-quarters since 2003, confirming years of
speculation it had been buying.
- China announced on Friday it had raised its gold reserves by three-quarters since 2003, and now holds 1,054 tonnes of the precious metal, up from 400 tonnes at the time of its last report.
China is not a signatory of the Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA), under which European central banks agree to limit their gold sales onto the open market.
Gold sales conducted under the terms of the pact total just 91 tonnes so far in its fifth year of a possible 500 tonnes.
The International Monetary Fund last year approved the sale of 403 tonnes of gold, but has said it wishes to do this under the terms of an international agreement.
Any sale of IMF gold requires ratification by the legislatures of member countries, including the U.S. Congress.
European central banks have sold 91 tonnes of gold in the fifth and final year of the CBGA to date, data compiled by the industry-funded World Gold Council showed.
The fifth year of the pact started on Sept. 27 2008.
According to the figures, the 15 signatories to the accord disposed of 497.2 tonnes of the 500-tonnes allowance during the first year, 395.8 tonnes in the second year, 475.8 tonnes in the third year and 358 tonnes in the fourth year.
Following is background to Europe's recent gold sales under the programme:
Central banks and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) collectively hold 29,697.1 tonnes of gold in their reserves, but have been gradually reducing their holdings.
In March 2004, 15 European central banks renewed a 1999 pact to limit their sales over a five-year period to 2,500 tonnes, with annual sales limited to 500 tonnes, up from 2,000 tonnes in the first agreement.
* The new pact runs from Sept. 27, 2004 to Sept. 26, 2009.
* The signatories are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Greece and the European Central Bank.
* Greece replaced Britain in the new CBGA.
* The world's largest holder of gold as of December 2008 is the United States with 8,133.5 tonnes.
* Other major holders are Germany (3,412.6 tonnes), the International Monetary Fund (3,217.3 tonnes), Italy (2,451.8 tonnes), France (2,444.8 tonnes) and Switzerland (1,040.1 tonnes), according to the World Gold Council.
Please find below known gold sales and announced sales plans under the CBGA.
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 (04/05) (05/06) (06/07) (07-08) (08-09) Eurozone (to Apr 10) 352.2 385.8 352.8 211
83 - ECB (to end Feb) 47.0 57.0 60.0 72.0
0.0 - Austria (to end Feb) 15.0 13.7 8.7 0.0
0.0 - Belgium (to end Feb) 30.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 - France* (to end Feb) 115.0 134.8 115.1 115 64 - Germany (to end Feb) 5.4 5.3 5.1 4.8 0.0 - Netherlands
(to end Feb) 55.0 67.5 14.0 19.5 9.0 - Portugal (to end Feb) 54.8 44.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 - Spain (to end Feb) 30.0 62.5 149.3 0.0 0.0 - Country not yet known 0.5 0.0 10.0 Sweden (to Apr 7) 15.0 10.0 10.0 10.0 8.2 Switzerland
(to date) 130.0 0.0 113.0 137.0 0.0 TOTAL Reported or estimated so far
497.2 395.8 475.8 358.0 91 * In addition, France transferred approx 17 tonnes late 2004 to the BIS as part purchase of BIS shares. This transaction is considered to be outside the scope of the CBGA. ** Source: World Gold Council
(Compiled by Jan Harvey)
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