Updated Reserve Asset Statistics Official Sector To Year End 2009
Updated Reserve Asset Statistics
Official Sector gold reserves to year end 2009
The latest updates to the Official Sector statistics provide a virtually complete full-year set of data for 2009. A review of this data reveals that 2009 was an interesting year in the official sector for a number of reasons, including the changing pattern of CBGA sales, China’s announcement of long-term purchases, and the commencement of the IMF’s sales programme.
Monthly sales under the second Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA2) during the first quarter of 2009 were broadly of the same magnitude as in the preceding 4 years, with the exception of Switzerland, which had ceased its programme of sales the previous September. However, sales slowed rapidly during the remainder of the year and by the commencement of CBGA3, the third term of the Agreement, in September 2009, sales had all but dried up. By 31st December 2009, sales of just 1.61 tonnes had been recorded under CBGA3. This compares with sales of almost 43 tonnes in the same period of the previous year.
The final quarter of 2009 saw the advent of the off-market phase of the IMF’s limited sales programme. A total of 212 tonnes were swiftly purchased in off-market transactions by India (200 tonnes), Sri Lanka (12 tonnes) and Mauritius (2 tonnes). In February this year, the IMF announced that the remaining 191.3 tonnes earmarked for sale would be sold to the gold market ‘in a phased and transparent manner’. These sales will not represent a net addition to expected supply because they will be accommodated under CBGA3.
Outside of the CBGA, changes in the gold holdings of both Russia and China were particularly worthy of comment. Russia’s central bank continued to execute its programme of accumulation, primarily by purchasing gold in the domestic market. These purchases accelerated in the second half of the year, during which time Russia’s gold reserves increased by 87.1 tonnes (compared with purchases of 30.6 tonnes during the first half of the year). Russia’s gold reserves increased 22% during the course of 2009, to end the year at to 641.5 tonnes. Consequently, Russia moved up to 9th place in the table of World Gold Holdings (from 10th place at end-2008).
In April, the People’s Bank of China revealed that 454 tonnes had been added to its reserves as a result of purchases made since 2003. As a result of the purchases, all of which are believed to have come from domestic sources, China’s gold reserves rose to 1,054 tonnes, equivalent to 1.6% of total reserves compared to 0.9% previously.
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