Central banks continued their gold buying spree during the closing months of 2022, pushing their demand for the precious metal to the second highest level on record. Net purchases of 417 metric tons of gold in the fourth quarter drove total central bank demand for the year to 1,136 tons, according to the World Gold Council (WGC). That marks the highest demand since 1967.
Yet again, for the second quarter in a row, there was an element of mystery to the buying, as much of it went unreported by any central bank.
China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, reported gold purchases of 62 tons in November and December, though there is widespread belief China actually purchased far more than that. The Central Bank of Russia said it would resume gold purchases from domestic producers, following the imposition of international sanctions on Russia, but it did not report actual purchases for the year.
Turkey reported the largest purchases of gold during the year at 148 tons. Central bank have been net purchasers of gold since 2010. The WGC’s most recent survey of central bankers found they purchase gold for its performance during times of crisis and its well-established role as a long-term store of value.
The World Gold Council compiles its data on central bank gold holdings from numerous sources, including the International Monetary Fund, Metals Focus, and the Refinitiv GFMS Gold Survey, as well as its own analysis of the global gold market.