Kazakhstan increased its gold reserves for a 34th month in July as Malaysia bought more bullion, according to the International Monetary Fund. Colombia reduced holdings.
Kazakhstan purchased about 2.49 metric tons to take its stash to about 208.14 tons, while Malaysia added 0.62 tons to 37.9 tons, data on the IMF’s website show. Colombia sold 64 percent of its gold reserves to own 3.76 tons.
Gold tumbled to a five-year low last month and rebounded in August after the Federal Reserve said it needs more evidence of strength in the U.S. economy and a pickup in inflation, signaling a possible rate increase in December instead of next month. China devalued its currency on Aug. 11, shaking up markets and boosting the appeal of haven assets, such as gold. The world’s biggest consumer said Aug. 14 it raised gold reserves to about 1,677.4 tons compared with 1,658 tons announced a month earlier.
“While we expect a pick-up in central banks’ buying in the second half, we’re forecasting overall demand for the year to be broadly flat from 2014,” Simona Gambarini, commodities economist at Capital Economics Ltd., said in an e-mail Aug. 21 before the release of the data. “The case for emerging economies to diversify their reserves remains strong.”
The Malaysian ringgit weakened to a 17-year low on Aug. 21 as falling oil prices worsened Malaysia’s export outlook amid an emerging-market selloff. The Kazkhstani tenge tumbled 22 percent to a record low versus the dollar after Central Asia’s biggest energy producer relinquished control of its exchange rate on Thursday.
Gold for immediate delivery rose as much as 0.4 percent to $1,165.48 an ounce and was at $1,162.65 at 7:54 a.m. in Singapore, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The metal is down 1.8 percent this year.
The Fed will still raise U.S. interest rates this year and that’ll hurt gold, said Barnabas Gan, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. The top-ranked precious metals forecaster kept a prediction that bullion will drop to $1,050 at the end of the year.
Central banks remained net buyers, increasing purchases by 11 percent to 137.4 tons in the second quarter from the first three months this year, according to the World Gold Council, an industry group made up of miners of the metal. They’ll probably buy 400 to 500 tons by the end of the year, the London-based council estimates.
Russia already announced it increased reserves at a slower pace in July. It now holds 1,288.2 tons compared with 1,275 tons a month earlier, according to the IMF data. The country has more than tripled its hoard since 2005.