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Central Bank Gold Sales Drop 40% in Accord, WGC Says

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Central Bank Gold Sales Drop 40% in Accord, WGC Says
Gold is heading for a 10th consecutive annual advance, the longest winning streak since at least 1920, spurring central banks globally to add the metal to reserves. Photographer: Adrian Moser/Bloomberg

Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Central banks and the International Monetary Fund sold about 94.5 metric tons of gold in the year that ended yesterday, the lowest amount under an agreement that began in 1999, according to data from the World Gold Council.

Eurozone banks disposed of 6.2 tons, led by Germany, Greece and Malta, while the International Monetary Fund sold 88.3 tons. The figure for the eurozone banks was 96 percent below last year’s 142 tons. The data run through Sept. 14 and the first year of the third five-year agreement ended yesterday.

Gold is heading for a 10th consecutive annual advance, the longest winning streak since at least 1920, spurring central banks globally to add the metal to reserves. Combined central bank holdings rose in every quarter since the second quarter of last year, data from the council show.

The Central Bank Gold Agreement was announced more than a decade ago because of concern that uncoordinated selling was destabilizing the gold market and driving down prices. Gold fell from a then-record $850 an ounce in 1980 to $253.83 in February 2001. It reached a record $1,300.07 on Sept. 24.

Signatories to the latest accord are limited to combined annual sales of 400 tons, down from 500 tons in the previous agreement. Sales under the previous agreement had dwindled to 157 tons by its final year, ending in 2009. Sales by eurozone banks have declined every year since 2006.

The IMF said in September 2009 it would put 403.3 tons of bullion up for sale as part of a plan to shore up its finances and lend at reduced rates to low-income countries.

Members of the current accord are: the European Central Bank, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovakia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Wallace in London at swallace6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stuart Wallace in London at swallace6@bloomberg.net

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