Turkey, Russia, Ukraine & Kazakhstan Further Diversify Into Gold

June 26, 2012 at 14:15

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Turkey raised its reported gold holdings by another 2% in the month of May. Turkey’s gold holding rose by 5.7 tonnes in May to total 245 tonnes, International Monetary Fund data showed, making it the latest in a string of countries to increase gold bullion reserves this year.

Russia expanded its gold reserves by 15.5 metric tons in May as Ukraine and Kazakhstan increased their holdings of the metal, International Monetary Fund data shows according to Bloomberg.

Russia’s bullion reserves climbed to 911.3 tons last month when gold averaged $1,587.68 an ounce, data on the IMF’s website showed. Ukraine’s climbed 2.1 tons to 32.7 tons and Kazakhstan boosted reserves by 1.8 tons to 100 tons, the data show.

Central banks are expanding reserves due to the Eurozone debt crisis and concerns about fiat currency debasement.

Central banks are on course to buy more bullion this year than the purchases of about 456 tons in 2011 as countries diversify their reserves.

Turkey has allowed banks to hold more of their reserves in gold to provide extra liquidity. The central bank this month raised the proportion of reserve requirements that can be held in foreign exchange to 50 percent from 45 percent, while the limit for gold was increased to 25 percent from 20 percent. The changes will add as much as $2.2 billion to gold reserves.

Gold accounts for about 9.1 percent of Russia’s total reserves, 5.1 percent of Ukraine’s and 15 percent of Kazakhstan’s, according to the World Gold Council. That compares with more than 70 percent for the U.S. and Germany, the biggest bullion holders, according to Bloomberg figures.

Kazakhstan plans to raise the amount of gold it holds as part of its reserves to 20 percent, Bisengaly Tadzhiyakov, deputy chairman of the country’s central bank, said earlier this month.

Central bank demand and Chinese demand alone should be enough to put a floor under prices near these levels and gold looks well positioned for another summer rally akin to the one seen last July and August.