Will central banks become inclined to replace dollar reserves with gold?
"China has quietly almost doubled its gold reserves to become the world’s fifth-biggest holder of the precious metal, it emerged on Friday, in a move that signals the revival of bullion after years of fading importance.
Gold rose to a three-week high of more than $910 an ounce after Hu Xiaolian, head of the secretive State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which manages the country’s $1,954bn in foreign exchange reserves, revealed China had 1,054 tonnes of gold, up from 600 tonnes in 2003.
The news could spark interest in gold among other central banks. 'When the largest holder of foreign exchange reserves discloses an increase in gold holdings, other countries may decide to think more carefully about underweight gold positions,' said John Reade, a precious metals strategist at UBS.
The increase in China’s gold reserves has come primarily from domestic production and refining. However, the news raises questions about the future of Beijing’s foreign reserves policy.
Ahead of the G20 summit in London this month, China suggested global reliance on the US dollar as a reserve currency should be reduced."