Emerging world buys $10 billion in gold
London, August 3, 2011
Central banks of emerging market countries such as Korea and Thailand have added more than $10 billion of gold to their reserves this year in a sign of waning faith in the West's benchmark bonds and currencies like the dollar and the euro.
International Monetary Fund data for June on Wednesday showed Thailand bought gold for the second time this year, raising its reserves by nearly 19 tonnes to over 127 tonnes, while Russia bought another 5.85 tonnes, bringing its reserves to 836.7 tonnes, the world's eighth largest official stash of the metal.
So far in 2011, emerging market central banks have bought nearly 180 tonnes of gold, more than double the roughly 73 tonnes purchased by central banks globally in the whole of 2010.
The spot price of gold has risen by more than 17 percent this year to a record $1,672.65 an ounce, driven chiefly by investor concerns over the impact on the developed world's economy of its debt burdens and sluggish growth.
Mexico has been the largest buyer of gold in the year to date, with $5.3 billion worth of purchases, or 98 tonnes of gold, followed by Russia, which has bought 48 tonnes, worth $2.6 billion at current prices.
Earlier this week, Korea confirmed it had bought 25 tonnes of gold in June and July.
'Central banks evidently do not regard the price level as too high and are diversifying their currency reserves. This was the first purchase of gold for the Korean central bank in over ten years,' said Commerzbank metals analyst Daniel Briesemann.
'Gold's high-altitude flight still appears to be supported by many factors and an end to the boom soon is not in sight.'
In the euro zone, smaller economies such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland have already sought emergency funding, while concern is mounting over the finances of some of the region's larger members such as Spain and Italy, driving the euro to record lows against the safe-haven Swiss franc. - Reuters