- Central bank gold reserves rose to $63.26 billion by end-month
- Assets probably totaled about 55.38 million troy ounces
China probably boosted central-bank gold holdings yet again in October, raising them by about 14 metric tons, as it seeks to diversify its foreign exchange reserves.
The value of gold assets was $63.26 billion at the end of last month from $61.19 billion at end-September, according to data on the People’s Bank of China website released Saturday. That works out to 55.38 million troy ounces or about 1,722.5 tons, based on the London Bullion Market Association afternoon price auction on Oct. 30, Bloomberg calculations show. The stash was 54.93 million ounces a month earlier.
China ended six years of mystery in July over how much gold it’s hoarding as it seeks to spur greater global use of its currency and pushes for the yuan to be included in the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights basket. Efforts to promote the yuan have boosted speculation the government is stockpiling gold as part of a plan to diversify its $3.53 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves.
“PBOC’s continuous diversification into gold may underpin” prices, Helen Lau, an analyst at Argonaut Securities (Asia) Ltd. in Hong Kong, said before the data were released.
China’s gold reserves rose by about 15 tons in September, 16 tons in August and 19 tons in July. It disclosed on July 17 that holdings had surged 57 percent since 2009. While the country has overtaken Russia to own the world’s fifth-largest hoard, it still has only about 2 percent of its reserves in gold, compared with 74 percent for the U.S. and 68 percent for Germany, World Gold Council data show.
Global bullion prices fell for the past five quarters as expectations mounted that the U.S. Federal Reserve would increase interest rates for the first time since 2006. Gold slumped 4.6 percent last week, the biggest such decline in a year, as a rate rise in December looked ever more likely after strong jobs data. Higher rates cut the appeal of bullion because it doesn’t pay interest or offer dividends like bonds and stocks.