Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Belarus and Mexico added a combined 25.7 metric tons of gold valued at $1.38 billion to reserves in October, a month after prices rose to a record, Bloomberg reported.
Russia's bullion reserves rose 19.5 tons to 871.1 tons last month, according to data on the International Monetary Fund's website. Kazakhstan's assets increased 3.2 tons to 73.6 tons, Colombia's gained 1.2 tons to 10.4 tons, Belarus expanded assets by 1 ton to 31.9 tons and Mexico added 0.9 ton to take holdings to 106.3 tons, the data show. Germany cut reserves by 4.7 tons to mint commemorative coins and Tajikistan cut 0.4 ton of gold.
Central banks are expanding reserves for the first time in a generation as prices head for an 11th straight annual gain and assets in exchange-traded products rose to an all-time high. Purchases may reach 450 tons this year, according to Marcus Grubb, managing director of investment research at the London- based World Gold Council. Central banks and government institutions bought 142 tons last year, IMF data show.
"Given gold's much more attractive levels in October, we would not be surprised if a similar trend of significantly more buying than is reflected by IMF data actually occurred during the month," Edel Tully, an analyst at UBS AG in London, wrote in a report today.
Gold touched a record $1,921.15 an ounce on Sept. 6 and averaged $1,671.25 last month, valuing Russia's purchase at about $1.05 billion.
Germany's gold reserves are at 3,396.3 tons, the IMF data show. The country is the second-biggest holder after the U.S., according to the World Gold Council. A Bundesbank spokesman confirmed the sale and said it was done to mint commemorative coins, which is the only reason it sold bullion during the past few years.