Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Emerging markets stepping up to the gold window

Foreign central banks are snapping up gold bullion for their reserves for several reasons. Foremost is their diversification away from the USDollar, as too much exposure to the sinking dollar has caused their asset values in reserves to decline. Their economies are stronger relative to developed countries, so they need to boost their gold reserves accordingly to reflect their newfound economic health. In other words, their strong currencies need to be backed by gold vs. the USDollar.

In the past, central banks could sell their gold holdings, in order to suppress the price of gold, as low gold prices enable sovereign governments to borrow at low interest rates. This support allows governments to run perpetual deficits and reduces their debt obligations in the form of low-yielding bond issuance.

But with mounting fears that governments worldwide are reckless in their deficit spending--debasing ALL currencies in the process, gold as re-emerged as a safe haven for monetary store of value.

In another article, the Reserve Bank of India hinted at buying the balance of the IMF's planned 403.3 tons of gold, of which 201.3 tons remain. India purchased 200 tons two weeks ago in a surprise move, as most observers expected China to buy the bulk of the planned sale. However, purchase of the IMF gold by ANY central bank is bullish for the yellow metal, as it further validates central bank net buying--not net selling.

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