Central bank gold buying expected to continue in 2015

London (Jan 28)  Global central banks are forecast to continue to be net buyers of gold in 2015, following the pattern seen over the past few years, investment bank Macquarie said Wednesday.

Analyst at the Australian bank Matthew Turner said in a research note that, according to latest International Monetary Fund data, Russia dominated the list of buyers, "though we believe its pace of purchases might slow in 2015."

Turner added that, as a slight concern, no mainstream central banks added to their reserves in 2014.

"On the plus side, no one seems to want to sell, however, and 2015 is likely to see another year of net central bank gold purchases," he said.

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According to Macquarie's data, central banks added a (net) 267 mt of gold to total reserves in 2014.

"This is substantially higher than seen in 2013, almost as high as seen in 2012, and not far off the record year of 2011," said Turner.

Macquarie said that, from looking at IMF data, 2011 purchases amounted to 303 mt with 185 mt bought in in 2013 and 276 mt in 2012.

However, he did caution that it was hard to get overexcited about the figures, owing to the list of purchasers.

"Russia accounted for 60% of gross purchases, a growing share, [however] we think this pace of accumulation could slow in 2015.The second largest, Iraq, seems a peculiar one-off. In general the absence of developed country or important emerging market central banks on the buy-side in recent years is a source of concern," Turner said.

The top 10 buyers of gold in 2014 were: Russia (173 mt), Kazakhstan (48 mt), Iraq (48 mt), Azerbaijan (10 mt), Mauritius (4 mt), Tajikistan (3 mt), Philippines (2 mt), Jordan (2 mt), Nepal (1 mt) and Serbia (1 mt).

Source: Platts