Mexico added 16.8 metric tons of gold valued at about $906.4 million to its reserves in March as nations including Turkey, Russia and Kazakhstan increased their holdings of the metal, International Monetary Fund data show.
Mexico raised its reserves to 122.6 tons last month when gold averaged $1,676.67 an ounce, data on the IMF’s website showed. Turkey added 11.5 tons, Kazakhstan 4.3 tons, Ukraine 1.2 tons, Tajikistan 0.4 ton, and Belarus 0.1 ton, according to the IMF. The data shows Russia boosted gold reserves by about 16.5 tons after its central bank said on April 20 they were higher. The Czech Republic reduced bullion reserves by 0.1 ton.
Central banks are expanding reserves after the metal climbed the past 11 years and holdings in exchange-traded products are about 0.7 percent below last month’s all-time high. The banks added 439.7 tons last year, the most in almost five decades, and may buy a similar amount in 2012, the London-based World Gold Council estimates. Gold reached a record $1,921.15 in September.
“We expect that the recent trend of the official sector being a net buyer will continue in the medium and long term,” said Bayram Dincer, an analyst at LGT Capital Management in Pfaeffikon, Switzerland. “Gold will continue to be a preferred central bank reserve asset. It is currency protection and stabilization.”
Gold for immediate delivery traded at $1,637.50 by 8:27 a.m. in London for a 4.7 percent gain this year. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities climbed 4.6 percent and MSCI All-Country World Index of equities rose 7.5 percent. Treasuries rose 0.2 percent, a Bank of America Corp. index shows.
Turkey’s central bank increased the proportion of required reserves that commercial banks can deposit in gold last year. The changes have increased the amount of bullion the country, which owns 209.6 tons, declares in its official reserves. Russia cut its holding in February for the first time in five years. It’s reserves are at about 895.7 tons, the IMF data show.
Gold accounts for about 3.9 percent of Mexico’s total reserves and 9.7 percent of Russia’s, according to the World Gold Council. That compares with more than 70 percent for the U.S. and Germany, the biggest bullion holders, the data show.