China's Been Building Its Gold Reserves - Now Over 1,000 Tons


"A Chinese official confirmed the country has been quietly building up its gold reserves. It is now the world's fifth biggest holder of gold."

China revealed on Friday that it had quietly raised its gold reserves by nearly three-quarters since 2003, increasing its holdings to 1,054 tons and confirming years of speculation it had been buying.

Hu Xiaolian, head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), told Xinhua news agency in an interview that the country's reserves had risen by 454 tons from 600 tons since 2003, when China last adjusted its state gold reserves figure.

The world gold market has been buzzing with talk about China buying gold for years as the country's foreign exchange reserves have rocketed, and speculation has picked up since the global economic crisis threatened to weaken the value of those reserves.

China recently reported the change in its gold holdings to the International Monetary Fund and would include the latest change in central bank reports and balance of payment statistics, Hu said.

Gold market participants said Hu's revelation was good news for the market and signaled likely further buying.

"The comments indicate that China will buy more gold as reserve to improve its foreign reserve portfolio. This is a trend," said Yao Haiqiao, president of Longgold Asset Management.

Hou Huimin, vice general secretary of the China Gold Association, said China should build its reserves to 5,000 tons.

"It's not a matter of a few hundred, or 1,000 tons. China should hold more because of its new international status, and because of the financial crisis," he said.

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