China says gold stash rose almost 60 pct in six years

China says gold stash rose almost 60 pct in six years

BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
China says gold stash rose almost 60 pct in six years

AFP Photo

China’s official gold reserves rose by almost 60 percent over the past six years, according to the first official data on the subject since 2009.

The central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said bullion holdings rose to 1,658 tons as of the end of June, from 1,054 tons in April 2009, the last time a figure was released.

China is the world’s largest producer of the yellow metal, but the 57 percent pace of increase marked a slowdown in gold accumulation after holdings jumped 75 percent from 2003 to 2009.

Bloomberg News reported that China’s gold purchases since 2009 were second only to those of Russia, citing figures from the PBoC and International Monetary Fund (IMF).     

China ranks fifth globally in gold holdings, Bloomberg added.

The price of gold has fallen in recent months as investors expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to hike interest rates by the end of the year, providing a better return than the precious metal.

On July 20 an ounce of gold cost $1,110, its lowest since March 2010 and well down from record highs near $1,800 in 2012 at the height of the United States’ bond-buying stimulus program and the eurozone debt crisis. Gold is considered a safe bet in times of turmoil and uncertainty.

China had foreign currency reserves of $3.69 trillion as of the end of June, the world’s largest trove. The PBoC announces those figures on a quarterly basis.

The gold reserve figure, which was announced on late July 17, comes as China works to internationalize its tightly controlled yuan currency. Beijing is also seeking to have the yuan included in the basket that makes up the IMF’s “special drawing rights” reserve currency.