China has added more than 100 tons of gold to its reserves since it resumed buying in December, reinforcing its standing as one of the major official accumulators as central banks stock up on the precious metal.
Its bullion reserves rose to 62.45 million troy ounces (2,141 tons) as of the end of last month - almost five percent more since the end of past year. In tonnage terms, the latest inflow totals 5.9 tons, and follows the addition of about 99.8 tons over the prior nine months. Prices had edged 0.5 per cent higher in the previous week on fears of global economic slowdown.
Official purchases will likely continue as protectionist policies and geopolitical concerns add to demand, said Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank.
According to the WGC, Europe now accounts for 44% of all ETF holdings and it was Europe again that initially drove gold higher Tuesday after United Kingdom government sources briefed local media that a no-deal Brexit had become more likely. Prior to that, the yellow metal will be at an important date with the release of the minutes of the Fed's monetary policy meeting last month to see the central bank's expectations on the future of U.S. interest rate cuts. The price of gold fell to the $1488 level after opening the week's trading around the $1508 resistance, and stable around the $1493 level in early Tuesday trading.
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The rise in bullion investments is occurring against the backdrop of a lukewarm trade war that has seen the U.S. and China exchange multiple rounds of mutual tariffs on imports.
Although formal talks are set to begin Thursday, deputy trade negotiators were scheduled to meet on Tuesday to lay the groundwork for the deliberations. Official data also showed that China's foreign exchange reserves came in at 3.0924 trillion USA dollars at the end of September, increasing by 19.7 billion US dollars, or 0.6 percent from the beginning of 2019.
December gold futures, the most actively traded derivatives contract, traded as low as $1,492.10 a troy ounce Tuesday. The PBOC data were released at the weekend. In the first six months, central banks worldwide picked up 374.1 tons, helping push total gold demand to a three-year high, the World Gold Council has said.
Along with China, Russia has been another large buyer of the yellow metal, adding substantial quantities of bullion.