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David Fickling

Don't Expect a Crisis to Be Good for Gold

Central banks have a shrinking appetite for the metal. If they turn net sellers, the recent rally could come to a halt.

If only there were chocolate inside.

If only there were chocolate inside.

Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Here’s another factor to add to the gyrations in the gold price over the past few weeks: The biggest players in the market may be losing their buying appetite.

Russia’s central bank, one of the world’s largest gold buyers in recent years, is halting all purchases of the metal. It’s not alone: Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, whose central banks have also been reliable consumers of late, have also slowed down. Rolling three-month additions to official sector gold holdings (those held by central banks and international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund) in January amounted to just 67 metric tons, the slowest pace since August 2018.