Central Banks "to Buy 493 Tonnes of Gold Bullion in 2012"

THE WORLD'S central banks will add more Gold Bullion to their reserves over the course of 2012 than at any time since the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate era, a leading precious metals consultancy forecast this week.

Net purchases of gold by central bank will total 493 tonnes for the year as a whole, up from 457 tonnes in 2011, according to Thomson Reuters GFMS, which published its 'Gold Survey 2012 – Update 1' on Tuesday.

Last year saw central bank Gold Buying hit its highest level since 1964 – a time when the world's major currencies were linked to the Dollar, which in turn was linked to Gold Bullion.

In the six months to the end of June, central bank gold purchases totaled 273 tonnes – a 34% rise from the same period last year – with the second quarter recording the highest level of central bank gold buying since the official sector became a net purchaser three years earlier.

"We expect the official sector to remain a significant gold buyer for some time to come," said the report from GFMS.

"A more aggressive scale of acquisitions than current levels is [however] highly unlikely due to the limited size of the gold market, particularly when compared with some countries' foreign-exchange holdings."

Gold Bullion lending by central banks meantime was "broadly flat" in the first half of the year, GFMS said.

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