Eugene Tang and Bob Chen
Friday, April 24, 2009
China boosted its gold reserves by 76 percent since 2003 and has the world’s fifth-biggest holding by country, said Hu Xiaolian, head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
The nation increased its reserves by 454 tons to 1,054 tons through domestic purchases and refining scrap metal, Hu said in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency today. The amount is more than Switzerland’s 1,040 tons, World Gold Council data show, and is worth $31 billion at current prices.
China has the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves at $1.95 trillion as of March 31, according to state administration data. The holdings have climbed about sixfold in the past six years as the country had record trade surpluses and inflows of foreign investment. Gold prices have almost tripled to more than $900 an ounce from $337.
“Chinese foreign-exchange reserves have absolutely exploded in the past few years,” said Jan Lambregts, head of Asia research at Rabobank International in Hong Kong. “We shouldn’t be surprised that they’re adding a lot of all asset classes. I don’t think they’re shifting away from U.S. dollars into gold.”
Gold climbed to a record $1,032.70 an ounce on March 17 last year and traded 0.9 percent higher today at $912.08 an ounce at 3:18 p.m. local time in Singapore.