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Kazakhstan, Tajikistan Extend Gold Buying

Wednesday 25 March 2015

(Bloomberg) – Kazakhstan boosted its gold reserves for a 29th straight month as Russia and Ukraine maintained holdings, the International Monetary Fund said. Tajikistan increased assets. Kazakhstan held 196.1 metric tons in February, according to data on the IMF website. That’s up from 193.5 tons in January, according to IMF data compiled by Bloomberg. Russia, the world’s fifth-biggest holder, kept its reserves at 1,207.7 tons.

Ingot from Altyntau Kokshetau (Akmola region)
(Credit: voxpopuli.kz)

Kazakhstan produces around 22 tons of gold each year, a figure comparable to neighbouring Kyrgyzstan (18 tons), but only a quarter of Uzbekistan’s production (92 tons). Gold is not a major feature of Kazakhstan’s mining industry, which is dominated by chromium, copper, zinc, and uranium, but it is becoming a key asset for the country’s central bank. All of the gold produced in Kazakhstan for the last two years has been bought out by the central bank, both under the supervision of former chairman Grigori Marchenko and through the orders of his successor, Kairat Kelimbetov. Albert Rau, Kazakhstan’s minister for investments, said that “given the turbulent global economy condition, the National [Central] Bank has been buying out all the fine gold produced.”

Kazakhstan’s reserve jumped 33% in the past 12 months and more than doubled in the past three years, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Gold for immediate delivery fell 0.1% to $1,192.55 an ounce by 11:17 AM in London.

Tajikistan boosted holdings to 9.5 tons from 8.9 tons.

Central bank buying and selling can have a significant influence on gold prices. Central banks became net buyers in 2010 after two decades as net sellers, driven by an increased interest in gold in the wake of the 2008 global economic crisis.

Gold prices fell over 5% in February, the biggest monthly decline since September, on expectations that the US Federal Reserve would soon hike interest rates. Russia failed to buy for a second month after adding gold from April through December.

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