The latest data on China’s foreign exchange reserves, issued late last week, showed the country bought a further 23 tonnes of the metal in October, marking the 12th successive month of active gold purchases. This took China’s reported gold reserves to a total of 2,215 tonnes, an increase of 204 tonnes since the beginning of the year.
Last week, the World Gold Council (WGC) reported that central banks purchased 337 tonnes of gold during the third quarter, making it the third strongest quarter on record. China led the way, with the People’s Bank of China increasing its gold reserves by 78 tonnes during the quarter. This strong demand helped absorb 189 tonnes of gold sold into the markets by Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in the same quarter.
The WGC anticipates that central banks will come close to setting a new record for gold purchases this year, potentially surpassing the previous year's record of more than 1,135 tonnes. As of the end of September, central banks had already bought 800 tonnes of gold, representing a 14% increase compared to the same nine-month period in 2022. China's contributions account for a quarter of this buying activity, playing a pivotal role in maintaining a robust gold market amidst market volatility.
While gold has experienced solid demand throughout the year, it has yet to match the unprecedented record set in the previous year. After briefly exceeding the $2,000-an-ounce level for the third time in the current year, Comex gold futures retraced to around $1,974 an ounce by the close of Tuesday's trading session.