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Central Bank Gold Bullion Buying Strong But Slowing

Gold bullion reserves rise again, outpacing the first-half of 2012...
CENTRAL BANKS from Azerbaijan to Ukraine continued buying gold bullion for their reserves in May, latest data show, but the total added slipped to an 8-month low.
A total of 29.7 tonnes of gold bullion was added to national central-bank reserves in May, figures compiled by market-development organization the World Gold Council said Thursday.
The lion's share – some 18 tonnes – went to Turkey, where the central bank has accepted gold bullion in its reserve requirements from commercial banks since late 2011.
With household gold deposits helping feed that inflow, Turkey's official gold reserves grew from 118 tonnes 18 months ago to 445 tonnes by end-May.
That 280% growth has moved Turkey from the world's 26th to 13th largest central-bank gold bullion holder.
ING Bank Turkey said in April that the policy encourages commercial banks both to hold gold for their reserves, and also to create gold-related products to draw in household gold deposits.
"Across the Turkish economy," reports, " banks are consistently using the facility." On average, banks now hold almost 24% of their reserve requirement as gold bullion at the Central Bank of the Repulic of Turkey.
Together that position weighs 261 tonnes, leaving the central bank's own gold bullion buying at 68 tonnes since October 2011.
Turkish households are the world's fourth largest private gold consumers behind India, China and the US.
Orhan Kandar, deputy executive director of markets at the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, says the reserves-requirement policy has enabled so-called "under the mattress" gold savings to become part of the country's financial system, aiding liquidity and lending amongst commercial banks.
Central banks globally added 180 tonnes of gold bullion to their reserves in the first 5 months of 2013, according to the World Gold Council data.
That's greater than the first-half gold buying for calendar 2012 at 173 tonnes, but behind July-Dec's total of 273 tonnes.

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