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Two More Countries Join Chase for Gold

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Two more countries have joined the global gold-buying spree.

According to a Bloomberg report, the Philippines’ central bank will increase gold purchases to upwards of 1 million ounces per year in the wake of a new law that exempts taxes on the monetary authority’s bullion purchases from small-scale miners. The country’s central bank has been adding between 20,000 and 30,000 ounces per year.

Meanwhile, Serbia plans to increase its gold reserves from 20 to 30 tons by the end of this year, according to an RT report.

The Serbs will reportedly continue adding gold to their holdings next year as well, boosting their hoard to 50 tons by the end of 2020 as a “safety measure.”

Serbia and the Philippines join a number of countries including China, Russia and India that are aggressively adding to their gold hoards. We’ve even seen increases in gold reserves from two EU banks – Hungary and Poland.

As the RT report notes, “Countries across the globe have been stockpiling bullion in an attempt to diversify their foreign reserves away from the US dollar.”

In total, the world’s central banks accumulated 651.5 tons of gold last year. According to the World Gold Council, 2018 ranked as the highest level of annual net central bank gold purchases since the suspension of dollar convertibility into gold in 1971, and the second highest annual total on record. That trend appears to have continued into 2019 with central banks globally adding 145 tons of gold in the first quarter of this year.

Russia has led the pack. The central bank purchased another 15.55 tons of the yellow metal in April. Russia has expanded its gold holdings by 71.53 tons through the first four months of 2019. This continues a multi-year trend. Russian gold reserves increased 274.3 tons in 2018, marking the fourth consecutive year of plus-200 ton growth.

Meanwhile, the Russians sold off nearly all of its US Treasury holdings. According to Bank of America analysts, the amount of US dollars in Russian reserves fell from 46% to 22% in 2018.

The Russians are also considering creating a gold-backed cryptocurrency to build an alternative international payment system as the country continues to seek a path toward de-dollarization.

China has been another big buyer. The People’s Bank of China added gold to their reserves for the fifth straight month in April and they are buying gold at an accelerating pace.

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