RUSSIA accelerated the rate at which it's buying gold in May, while the International Monetary Fund continued to sell it, new data shows.
The "central bank's central bank", the Washington-based IMF – which was created at the end of WWII – sold a further 15 tonnes of its 2966-tonne hoard in May, part of the 403-tonne sales announced in mid-2009.
The central bank of Russia meant continued to buy gold for its reserves, expanding its hoard by 22.5 tonnes to 703 tonnes.
In the last year, the Bank of Russia has now bought 140 tonnes of gold bullion according to World Gold Council data, equal to 6.0% of annual world mine output. Russia now stands in ninth place amongst the world's largest official-sector holders.
The IMF remains in third place behind the United States (8133 tonnes) and Germany (3406 tonnes).
May's sale "is an indication" that the remaining 137.5 tonnes of IMF gold slated for sale will be made "on-market, as opposed to via off-market with other central banks," says RBS analyst Daniel Major in London.
Overall, "the decline in gold sales from European central banks and purchases from India, Russia and China in recent years demonstrates gold's growing popularity with central banks."
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