The growing role of gold in the evolving international financial architecture

Let's start with a relevant extract from the last WGC report :
"The second quarter was another period of significant purchasing by official sector institutions, with demand amounting to 157.5 tonnes.This was a record quarter for central bank buying since the sector began recording net purchases in Q2 2009 and was more than double the 66.2 tonnes of purchases made in the same period of 2011. 
Purchases in the first half of the year totalled 254.2 tonnes, 25% up on 203.2 tonnes from the same period last year. The official sector accounted for 16% of overall Q2 gold demand.
Some central banks have clearly indicated their intention to bolster gold reserves. One such institution is the National Bank of Kazakhstan, which stated in July that it had increased its 2012 target for gold purchases from 24.5 tonnes to 26 tonnes. 
The bank has previously stated that it plans to buy the country’s entire domestic production over the next two to three years in order to reduce its reliance on the US dollar as a reserve assetconfirming that it is targeting an allocation to gold of 15% of its foreign exchange reserves.
Following the confirmation in June that it had purchased over 32 tonnes of gold in March, the central bank of the Philippines made no net changes to its reserves throughout the second quarter. The bank’s stated policy of buying local mine production remains in place and reserves as at the end of June stood at a provisional 194.2 tonnes, equal to around 13% of total reserves. 
Russia’s programme of buying saw the central bank add a further 22.3 tonnes to its reserves during the April to June period. Total gold reserves at the end of the period stood at around 920 tonnes, roughly equal to 9% of total reserves. 
The National Bank of Ukraine appears to have accelerated a programme of very small sporadic purchases, which it has made over recent years, with four consecutive monthly additions to its gold reserves since March of this year. These transactions have been small in size, with purchases in the second quarter totalling 3.6 tonnes, but relative to total holdings of 32.8 tonnes this represents a significant percentage increase in the bank’s gold reserves.
Small purchases were also made by a range of central banks across Europe and South America, including Serbia (+0.2 tonnes), Guatemala (+0.2 tonnes) and the Kyrgyz Republic (+0.2 tonnes).
Turkey continued to record increases in its gold reserves; however, these additions are excluded from our data. As reported in the previous issue of Gold Demand Trends, recent legislation allows commercial banks to pledge gold as part of their reserve requirements to the central bank. The reported changes in Turkey’s gold reserves reflect changes in gold pledged by commercial banks, rather than acquisitions by the central bank in the open market. While not representing a traditional addition to official sector reserves, the increase in reserves reflects the growing role of gold in the evolving international financial architecture.
Following a similar pattern to its actions last year, South Korea’s central bank announced in August that it had purchased 16 tonnes of gold in July, having “judged ...market conditions were good” to make a purchase as part of its stated ongoing diversification of reserves. Coming as it did after the end of the quarter, the purchase is not captured within the second quarter data but is confirmation of a continued trend of purchasing by the sector. The bank has increased its gold holdings by 56 tonnes since June last year, with the aim of diversifying its portfolio. The latest purchase takes South Korea’s gold reserves to 70.4 tonnes, accounting for around 1% of total reserves. 
Sales among central banks remained muted in the second quarter. Under the terms of the third Central Bank Gold Agreement, sales [...] amount to just 13.9 tonnes."
The gold buying policy of Russia Central Bank is not new. But in just 4 years of global systemic crisis, ALL central banks have switched the diversification policy of their reserves, as depicted below :

Except Switzerland, the bar and coins demand market has increased in Europe since last quarter. It is now the biggest market in the world, above China or India. 

Source : WGC Gold Demand Trend Q2 2012 report

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