Gold Demand Trends Q3 2017

Published 9th November 2017

Central banks and other institutions

Global central bank gold purchases rose 25% y-o-y, led by a small cadre of banks

  • Global gold reserves grew 111t in Q3 2017
  • Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan remained dominant buyers, accounting for over 90% of the total
  • Kazakhstan has now purchased 185t over the past five years
Tonnes Q3'16 Q3'17 YoY
Central banks & others 88.8 111.0 25%

Central banks collectively added 111t to their gold reserves in Q3, 25% more than the same period in 2016. This brings y-t-d demand from this sector to a healthy 289.6t. The third quarter was something of a familiar tale: Russia accounted for the bulk of purchases, with Kazakhstan and Turkey also increasing reserves.

Echoing recent years, the Central Bank of Russia was by far the largest purchaser. It accumulated 63t in Q3, pushing gold reserves to 1,778.9t (17% of total reserves). On a y-t-d basis, Russian gold reserves have risen by almost 164t, around 35t more than in the same period of 2016 and 112t more than the second largest purchaser, Turkey.1

After returning to the market to purchase gold in Q2, the Central Bank of Turkey continued to grow its gold reserves. During Q3, Turkey bought 30.4t. Reserves (excluding commercial bank holdings) reached 167.4t at the end of September, more than 50t higher than at the end of April this year.

Kazakhstan purchased 10.3t during the quarter. Its central bank has now increased gold reserves each month for the last five years, accumulating 185.3t. 

Russia and Turkey dominate Q3 central bank buying

Source: Metals Focus; IMF IFS; Central Bank of Turkey; World Gold Council

Other central banks increasing reserves during the quarter were Qatar (3.1t), Kyrgyz Republic (1.3t), Indonesia (1.2t), and Mongolia (0.4t). While these increases are small in comparison to those mentioned above, they demonstrate that emerging market central banks maintain an interest in gold in order to diversify their reserves. 

Net reductions in gold reserves remained limited in Q3. Germany sold 0.4t for its coin-minting programme, while Tajikistan (-1.3t) and Malaysia (-0.6t) also saw minor declines.

Footnotes:
  1. Turkish gold reserves have increased due to direct purchasing by the central bank and its policy of accepting gold in its reserve requirements from commercial banks. This report considers just the gold bought directly by the Central Bank of Turkey.

Disclaimer [+]Disclaimer [-]