rbi gold reserves: Central banks purchased 400 tonnes of gold in Q3. Is that this actually a hidden message for traders?

Whereas the central financial institution gold shopping for sometimes occurs behind the scenes, the current record-high purchases created a stir out there and raises the query of whether or not central banks know extra.

Judging by their funding efficiency, we don’t consider they know extra. As a substitute, we see their behaviour as sending political statements to Washington, Berlin, or Brussels.

Relationship again to the years of the gold commonplace, the connection between central banks and gold has all the time been a particular one. Despite the fact that some central banks had been sturdy gold sellers after the Bretton Woods system collapsed within the Nineteen Seventies, gold nonetheless accounts for a sizeable share of their reserves, particularly in developed international locations corresponding to america, Germany, and France.

Through the previous few years, the central banks of growing international locations have turn out to be main consumers of gold, bringing complete gold reserves again to ranges final seen within the Nineteen Nineties, at round 37,000 tonnes. As central financial institution shopping for sometimes occurs behind the scenes, it hardly hits the headlines. Nevertheless, information of current purchases created a stir within the gold market – not solely due to the amount of virtually 400 tonnes through the third quarter of this 12 months but additionally as a result of most of it couldn’t be allotted to a particular central financial institution.


The one identifiable purchases got here from India (17t), Turkey (31t), and Uzbekistan (26t). Russia must be on that checklist as nicely, however it has stopped reporting reserves for the reason that begin of the struggle in Ukraine. Nevertheless, even with the inclusion of Russia, an enormous hole stays, which raises the query of whether or not there are central banks that know extra in regards to the gold market than different market individuals. Judging by the central banks’ observe document, it appears unlikely that the central banks know extra.
Since 2010, their shopping for yielded common returns of 4% over one 12 months and round 7% over two years, which is in keeping with gold’s general efficiency. As a substitute, based mostly on the checklist of consumers, we see their behaviour fairly as sending political statements, particularly in occasions of a extra multipolar world.

Moreover, there’s clearly no hyperlink between a central financial institution’s gold reserves and the steadiness of its forex. Turkey is probably the most outstanding living proof. The steadiness of a forex is way more reflective of cyclical circumstances, in addition to the extent of belief within the nation’s establishments.

(Carsten Menke is Head Subsequent Era Analysis at Julius Baer)

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