While record-low interest rates and additional rounds of quantitative easing (QE) have received the bulk of the attention for driving the rally in gold in recent months, a report on Tuesday from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) highlighted another significant factor.
This morning, the IMF announced that several central banks around the world continued to add to their gold reserves in July – the most recent month for which data is available. In July, South Korea increased its gold holdings by close to 16 tonnes, while Paraguay raised its holdings to more than 8 tonnes from its prior level of only a few thousand ounces.
For South Korea – which was one of the largest buyers of gold in 2011 – the latest increase has caused its reserves to double over the past 12 months.
Thus far in 2012, central banks have added 262.1 tonnes of gold to their reserves, versus 203.39 tonnes at this time last year. The largest buyer on a year-to-date basis has been Turkey, with 100.2 tonnes purchased, followed by Russia with 53.75 tonnes added.
As is evident from the data, the countries which have added the most of late are generally those in emerging economies rather than in the developed world. Moreover, the central banks in these nations have not engaged in enormous QE programs aimed at debasing their currencies to stimulate economic growth.
Accordingly, it appears that these central banks are trying to protect themselves from the inflationary and reckless policies of the world’s largest money printers – namely the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, and Bank of England.
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