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Central banks extend gold buying streak in January — report

European Central Bank at sunset. Credit: Adobe Stock

Central bank gold demand picked up from where it left off in 2022 with the addition of 31 tonnes to the global gold reserves in January, the World Gold Council said on Thursday.

This total, which represents a 16% monthly increase, falls comfortably within the 20-to-60-tonne range of reported purchases that has been in place over the last 10 consecutive months of net buying, Krishan Gopaul, senior analyst, EMEA, noted.

Credit: World Gold Council

Activity was relatively concentrated during the month, with only three banks accounting for gross purchases of 44 tonnes and one bank offsetting this with 12 tonnes of sales, WGC data show.

The largest reported purchaser in 2022 was also the largest buyer in January: the Central Bank of Türkiye (Turkey), which added 23 tonnes during the month, taking its official gold reserves to 565 tonnes.

People’s Bank of China (PBoC) also bought again during the month, adding 15 tonnes on top of the 62 tonnes reported between November and December 2022. Its gold reserves now total 2,025 tonnes (3.7% of total reserves).

The National Bank of Kazakhstan increased its gold reserves by a modest 4 tonnes in January, taking its gold reserves to 356 tonnes.

The European Central Bank (ECB) reported a near 2-tonne rise in its gold reserves, though it was not an outright purchase by the bank. This was related to Croatia joining the currency union, as the country was required to transfer the gold as part of a larger transfer of reserve assets to the ECB. For this, the country bought nearly 2 tonnes of gold in December.

The Central Bank of Uzbekistan was the only prominent seller during the month, reducing its official gold reserves by almost 12 tonnes (down 3% from December). Its gold holdings now total 384 tonnes, about 66% of its total reserves.