China Boosts Gold Hoard by Smallest Amount Since at Least July

Beijing (Mar 7)  China raised its central bank gold reserves by the smallest amount since the nation started disclosing monthly increases last year.

The People’s Bank of China expanded holdings by 0.6 percent to 57.50 million ounces in February from 57.18 million ounces a month earlier, according to its website. Global bullion prices jumped 11 percent in February, the biggest monthly increase in four years, as investors sought a haven from financial turmoil. Chinese markets were shut Feb. 8-12 for the Lunar New Year holiday.

The central bank has revealed its gold reserves for each month since July in a bid to enhance transparency. The assets have grown 7.8 percent since the PBOC announced it raised holdings by 57 percent through the end of June from 2009.

China has the fifth-biggest tonnage by country and is buying the metal to diversify its foreign-exchange holdings. Those reserves include the euro, yen, pound and developing nations’ assets, as well as dollars, PBOC Deputy Governor Yi Gang said at the weekend.

The country joins Russia and Kazakhstan in increasing its hoard. China increased its assets even as its foreign-exchange reserves fell to $3.20 trillion last month from $3.23 trillion in January.

Source: Bloomberg