The Central Bank of Uzbekistan has emerged as the world’s second-largest gold buyer, the World Gold Council has reported. In December 2023 alone, the region’s second-largest economy purchased 9 tons of the precious metal. This is a significant increase from the 6.5 tons it had acquired in 3Q23.
Global Central Bank Gold Holdings
Global central bank gold holdings saw an increase of 28 tons in December. Turkey took the lead as the largest buyer, augmenting its reserves by 28 tons in a single month. Following Uzbekistan, China also made substantial purchases, securing a place in the top three with a purchase of 9 tons.
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan’s Gold Sales
Contrary to the buying trend, Kazakhstan emerged as the main seller of gold in December. The country sold five times more precious metal compared to the previous month – 10 tons in December, a significant increase from the 2 tons sold in November. Additionally, neighbouring Kyrgyzstan also sold 2 tons of gold in December.
Implications and Future Trends
The recent surge in gold purchases by central banks, particularly in Uzbekistan, Turkey, and China, underscores the growing importance of gold as a strategic reserve. This trend is expected to continue, given the ongoing economic uncertainties and the role of gold as a safe-haven asset. However, the selling trend observed in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan indicates a different strategic approach towards gold reserves in these countries.
Uzbekistan has one of the largest gold mines in the world, Muruntau. Located in the mountains of Murintau in the south-west of the Kyzylkum desert, on the territory of the Tamdyn district of the Navoi region, the mine has estimated reserves of 150mn ounces of gold in reserves and resources. President Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan announced on February 1 that gold production in the country grew by 23% over the last 7 years.