Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Central banks added 536 metric tons of gold to reserves last year, the most in 48 years, and will buy another 280 tons in this year’s first half, Thomson Reuters GFMS said.
Purchases increased by 17 percent in 2012 and buying in the first half will be 1.2 percent higher than in the year-earlier period, the London-based researcher said today in a report. Gross buying increased to 553 tons last year and gross sales fell for a fifth consecutive year to 17 tons, GFMS said.
Nations from Brazil to Iraq to Russia are buying metal to add to official reserves. GFMS said the figures don’t include the increase in reserves reported by Turkey, which has been accepting gold in its reserve requirements from commercial banks.
“With continued monetary loosening in advanced economies, demand for gold as a reserve asset from developing countries will remain strong in 2013,” GFMS, a unit of Thomson Reuters Corp., said in the report.
Net gold lending by central banks was little changed in 2012, while “very short-term” lending from some central banks grew in the last 12 months to earn extra yields and to avoid storage charges, the researcher said. Leasing rates remained “very low” throughout the year and fabrication-related borrowing for jewelry and industrial applications fell because of tighter credit limits and weaker consumer spending, it said.
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