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  • Central banks add more gold in November as China joins the fray

    6 January, 2023

    I've spoken before about central banks' sizeable appetite for gold during 2022 in this blog series, and November was no different. Central banks bought a further 50 tonnes (t) on a net basis during the month, a 47% increase from October's (revised) 34t.1 Of this net total, three central banks accounted for gross buying of 55t, while two largely contributed to gross sales of 5t , showing the strength of demand.


    Central banks added a further 50t to global official reserves in November*

    The biggest announcement of the month came from the People's Bank of China (PBoC). It reported an increase of 32t, the largest reported purchase in November and the first announced increase   in its gold reserves since September 2019. This announcement is significant given China's historic position as a large gold buyer, having accumulated 1,448t between 2002 and 2019. It remains to be seen whether this is followed up with reports of continued buying in December. At the end of November, PBoC gold reserves stood at 1,980t (3.4% of total reserves).

    The Central Bank of Türkiye continued to buy gold in November, adding a further 19t to its official (central bank + Treasury) reserves.2 This lifts its YTD net purchases of gold to 123t – the largest reported by any country – and its official gold reserves to 517t (27% of total reserves). The Central Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic added to its gold reserves for the first time this year, buying 3t in November to increase its total gold reserves to 16t (+61% YTD).  

    On the sales side, the National Bank of Kazakhstan and the Central Bank of Uzbekistan were the largest sellers. Kazakhstan reduced its gold reserves by around 4t to 380t (-5% YTD), while Uzbekistan’s gold reserves fell by almost 2t to 397t, 10% higher YTD. We have noted previously that it is not uncommon for central banks who purchase gold from domestic sources - as both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan do - to also be frequent sellers of gold. 


    Gold purchases/sales by the central banks of gold producing nations  in 2022 *

    The central bank sector has been one of the highlights of the gold market in 2022, having bought a net 673t between Q1 and Q3 .3 Looking ahead to the full year picture, it's likely  that central banks accumulated a multi-decade high level of gold in 2022. How much exactly? Stay tuned for our Gold Demand Trends report which will be published at the end of January to find out. 


    1Our data set is based on IMF data but is supplemented with data from respective central banks where it is available and not reported through the IMF at the time of publication. This data may be revised in our next monthly update should more data become available.

    2Türkiye official sector gold reserves are the sum of central bank owned gold and Treasury gold holdings. This is equivalent to gross gold reserves less all gold held at the central bank in relation to commercial sector gold policies, such as the Reserve Option Mechanism (ROM), collateral, deposits, and swaps. Please see this link for information on this methodology: https://www.gold.org/download/file/16208/Central-bank-stats-methodology-technical-adjustments.pdf 

    3We provide two separate sources for central bank data and depending on which data set one refers to for their data, the results may differ. The source for our Gold Demand Trends publication is primarily Metals Focus, who make their own estimates of official sector activity incorporating what is reported to the IMF. While the source for the monthly central bank statistics is the IMF IFS statistics (supplemented with data directly from central bank websites where needed and available).

    4Both data sets are subject to revision as new information is made available. The IMF IFS data is also subject revision as official sector institutions continue to update, revise, and report their holdings. Most institutions will report their data on a regular basis, which means our data is up to date with a two-month lag. However, very often institutions will be late in reporting and not report their updated gold holdings for several months. In these cases, gold purchases and sales will be reported with a significant delay due mostly to the late reporting of the central bank. Sometimes Metals Focus has insight on these purchases as they are happening in the market and may therefore already have this incorporated in their numbers, and therefore not require a revision.