Gold bulls received a boost yesterday as European central banks renewed a five-year agreement by committing not to sell “significant” amounts of the precious metal.
Under the current Central Bank Gold Agreement, which expires in September, the eurozone countries plus Sweden and Switzerland pledged not to sell more than 400 tonnes of bullion from their combined holdings each year. The deal reaffirms a commitment to bullion as a monetary reserve but drops quotas – a recognition of European governments’ lack of interest in offloading gold.
In a statement, the central banks said they would “continue to co-ordinate gold transactions so as to avoid market disturbances”.
“The signatories note that, currently, they do not have any plans to sell significant amounts of gold,” the banks added.
Established in 1999, the CBGA was designed to reduce the volatility in the gold market caused by large sales by central banks, including the UK Treasury, which dumped half of its reserves earlier that year, sending prices lower.
Sales under the agreement peaked in the year ending September 2005 at 497 tonnes. But in the past five years, European central banks sold just 23.5 tonnes – mainly for minting gold coins – out of a possible 2,000 tonnes, according to the World Gold Council.
Analysts said the low sales had made the annual limits irrelevant, and central banks’ stated commitment to maintain reserves sent a stronger signal at a time when prices were low.
“It offers some comfort to the market, which appears to be taking the news well,” said Joni Teves, precious metals analyst at UBS.
Gold fell 28 per cent last year following a large sell-off by western investors in the exchange traded funds. The current price of $1,300 a troy ounce – up 0.6 per cent for the day – is still 32 per cent lower than the 2011 peak of $1,920 an ounce.
Natalie Dempster, managing director for central banks and public policy at the World Gold Council, said the new agreement was “extremely positive news for the gold market”. “For the foreseeable future, the message is very clear: European gold sales are over,” Ms Dempster said.
Members of the CBGA own about 11,000 tonnes of gold, more than a third of total official sector holdings. Over the past four years, central banks have been net buyers, with purchases totalling 368.8 tonnes in 2013.
根据将于9月到期的现有《央行黄金协议》(Central Bank Gold Agreement)，欧元区国家外加瑞典和瑞士承诺，每年总共出售的黄金将不超过400吨。协议再次确认了黄金作为储备货币的地位，但不再提及出售限额——这相当于承认欧洲各国无意出售黄金。
该协议下的黄金出售量在截至2005年9月的一年里创下497吨的最高纪录。但据世界黄金协会(World Gold Council)数据，过去5年欧洲各央行仅出售了23.5吨黄金，主要是为了铸造金币，而同期它们的最大可出售量为2000吨。