TURKEY remained the world's number one minter of Gold Coins in 2011, according to the latest data released by the World Gold Council.
Gold Investment demand in Turkey, defined as purchases of Gold Coins and bars, rose to a record 80.4 tonnes – almost double 2010's volume – the WGC's Gold Demand Trends report reveals.
"Turkey once again resumed its position as the world's largest minter of coins," the report says.
The report also notes the increasing tendency for Gold Bars to be retail investors' "vehicle of choice" – although Gold Coins still retain a majority market share.
There is also evidence that the ongoing crisis in Europe is having an effect on gold demand both within Europe and in Turkey, which borders the continent.
"Turkish investors appear to be increasingly troubled by the ongoing crisis in the Euro area, and these burgeoning fears are driving increasing purchases of gold for its insurance purposes," the GDT report says.
As well as boosting demand for Gold Coins and bars in Turkey, the Eurozone crisis appears to have led to increased interest in Allocated Gold accounts – whereby an investor owns gold outright as his or her property, with the gold being stored in a professional bullion vault under a custody arrangement.
"A number of countries," the report says, "notably Turkey and German-speaking European markets, saw an upsurge in demand for allocated metal accounts, largely on the back of concerns relating to European financial stability."
In the fourth quarter alone, demand for Gold Coins and bars in Turkey was 19.3 tonnes – a 142% increase on the same period in 2010.
"The strength of conviction behind investment demand is further highlighted by the fact that selling back has been relatively limited," the WGC's report says.
Turkey's central bank also opted to Buy Gold last year, adding 63 tonnes to its balance sheet in Q4.
"This addition," the WGC says, "was the result of a policy change under which the central bank will now accept gold in reserve requirements from commercial banks to help the banks utilize their gold in managing their liquidity."
To download the full Gold Demand Trends report, visit the World Gold Council's website.
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