By Douglas A. McIntyre | 24/7 Wall Street
According to new analysis in the World Gold Council’s Gold Demand Trends Full Year 2015, the U.S. central bank held 8,155 tonnes of gold at the end of December. Germany was well behind with 3,381 tonnes.
Central banks accounted for much of the demand for gold:
Q4 gold demand grew 4% (+47t) to 1,117.7t. Central bank purchases (+33t) generated much of this growth. Demand was weaker for both jewellery (-6t) and technology (-6t). Mine production (-16t) fell for the first time since 2008 and recycling continued to shrink.
Central banks added to their gold reserves with renewed vigor in the second half of 2015, accelerating their purchasing programmes as diversification of foreign reserves remained a top priority. Central banks bought 336.2t of gold in the second half, versus 252.1t in the first half and 308.8t in the second half of 2014.
After the United States and Germany, holdings drop off sharply. In third place, the International Monetary Fund held 2,841 tonnes, followed by Italy at 2,451 tonnes, France at 2,435 tonnes, China at 1,762 tonnes, Russia at 1,932 tonnes, Switzerland at 1,404 tonnes, Japan at 765 tonnes and, rounding out the top 10, the Netherlands at 612 tonnes.This activity occurred while gold prices remained low. The price of gold per ounce hit $1,047 at its 52-week low, and it sits close to its 52-week high now at $1,220. However, in August 2014 the price was just above $1.900.
Without central bank demand, global demand would be slack. Without them, the global price might be closer to the 52-week low than the 52-week high.