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WGC 2024 Central Bank Gold Reserves SurveyCentral Bank managers will continue to increase their gold holdings in the next 12 months

An increasingly complex geopolitical and financial environment is making gold reserves management more relevant than ever. In 2023, central banks added 1,037 tonnes of gold – the second highest annual purchase in history – following a record high of 1,082 tonnes in 2022.

Following these record numbers, gold continues to be viewed favourably by central banks as a reserve asset. According to the 2024 Central Bank Gold Reserves (CBGR) survey, which was conducted between 19 February and 30 April 2024 with a total of 70 responses, 29% of central banks respondents intend to increase their gold reserves in the next twelve months, the highest level we have observed since we began this survey in 2018.

The planned purchases are chiefly motivated by a desire to rebalance to a more preferred strategic level of gold holdings, domestic gold production, and financial market concerns including higher crisis risks and rising inflation.

81 per cent said that official sector gold reserves overall will grow in the same period. Optimism towards gold’s future role in global reserves continues to grow, with 69% saying that gold’s share of reserves will be higher in five years compared to 62% last year, the WGC survey said.

The top reasons given for the increases now are “long-term store of value or inflation hedge,” “performance during times of crisis” and “effective portfolio diversifier.”

According to the report, reserve managers indicate that they are looking to gold to help mitigate risks and prepare for further political and economic uncertainty, globally. Although seven in ten (71%) still view gold’s legacy as a reason to hold it, other reasons have surpassed it this year. The top three reasons to hold gold now include: gold’s long-term value (88%), performance during crisis (82%), and its role as an effective portfolio diversifier (76%).

Central banks in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDE) maintained their positive outlook for gold’s future share in reserves portfolios. Notably, they were joined by advanced economy central banks which now view gold more positively. More than half (57%) of this group said gold would account for a higher proportion of reserves five years from now, a significant increase compared to 2023 (when 38% of respondents indicated the same view).

Advanced economy central banks have also become more pessimistic in their outlook for the US dollar’s share of global reserves, a view which has consistently been more prominent among EMDEs. More than half (56%) of advanced economy respondents believe the US dollar’s share of global reserves will fall (up 10 percentage points year-on-year), while 64% of EMDE respondents share the same view.

Demand for gold from central banks has been elevated in the last two years as some countries diversify their foreign currency reserves. Their demand contributed to the gold price rally in March-May with the spot price hitting a record high of $2,449.89 per ounce on May 20.

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