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China’s $170bn gold rush triggers Taiwan invasion fears

Beijing’s stockpile is dwarfed by the holdings of the US, which has the largest reserves in the world. US holdings are worth $602bn, while the UK owns $23bn of the precious metal.

Mr Eyal said China’s urgency was clear given it is buying up vast amounts of gold at a time when prices are at historic highs. Its price has risen by almost a fifth over the last year, reaching an all-time high in recent weeks. The surge has coincided with fears of a spiralling conflict in the Middle East.

As well as stockpiling gold, President Xi has campaigned for self-sustaining agriculture in China. The PBOC has also been selling down its holdings of US government debt.

Mr Eyal said: “The most important thing is this determination to be self-sufficient in both food and finances to withstand a long-term confrontation with the United States. I mean not months but years of confrontation with the United States, of the kind the West has with Russia at the moment.”

American military officials have warned that China aims to have the military capabilities to invade Taiwan by 2027.

Globally, central banks bought more gold in the first quarter of 2024 than during any other start of the year on record, according to the World Gold Council.

High inflation has been a key driver, but central banks in emerging economies are also increasing their gold purchases as an alternate store of wealth to US dollars, Mr Reade said.


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