Central Bank Gold Binge Is Even Bigger Than Previously Thought

(Bloomberg) — Central banks have loaded up on more gold than previously thought this year, offering crucial support to prices that have faced pressure from global monetary tightening.

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Countries expanded bullion reserves by 337 tons in the three months through September, the World Gold Council said in a report Tuesday. That follows an increase of 175 tons in the second quarter, which was bigger than the council’s previous estimate of 103 tons.

Central bank purchases for the first nine months of the year now total 800 tons, driven mainly by China, Poland and Singapore, as well as unreported buying. The pace has exceeded the amount for the same period of last year, which ended with record demand.

The buying spree has provided a key counterweight to investor sales over the past year, underpinning prices that last week topped $2,000 an ounce for the first time since May. The robustness of the market has left gold increasingly disconnected from inflation-adjusted Treasury yields, which are normally a key driver of non-interest bearing bullion.

Bullion surged this month following Hamas’s attack on Israel, which inflamed tensions in a region that’s crucial to global energy supplies and boosted demand for a haven. The advance has pushed gold prices closer to a record of about $2,075 set in 2020.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,996.78 an ounce at 9:11 a.m. in London. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat. Silver declined, while platinum and palladium edged higher.

(Updates with latest gold prices in sixth paragraph.)

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