Investing.com – Iraq’s central bank boosted its reserves by about 2% in one day last week as part of what it calls a gradual plan to stockpile the precious metal, which is seen as a traditional haven in times of economic crisis.
Mazen Sabah, Director General of the Investments Department of the Central Bank of Iraq, said in an interview in Baghdad that Iraq bought 2.5 tons of bullion on Thursday, raising its gold reserves to 132.73 tons. Sabah said the strategy is to get more gold in the second half of the year, according to Bloomberg.
Sabah continued, “Our current plan is to buy small quantities several times, not a large amount at once.”
Central banks around the world are expanding their bullion holdings amid mounting geopolitical and economic risks. Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest oil producer, resumed gold purchases in 2022 after a four-year hiatus, as part of a program to diversify its nearly 100 billion foreign assets.
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Add more gold
The Central Bank of Iraq bought 34 tons of gold last June, an increase of 35 percent in its reserves. As the Central Bank of Iraq stores bullion at the Bank of England and the Bank of France.
Sabah said the central bank’s approach is to add more gold to its reserves whenever the price of the precious metal reaches a level commensurate with the investment ministry’s guidelines.
Gold, which was within striking distance of a record earlier this month, suffered its third consecutive weekly loss as signs of resilience in the US economy increased the likelihood that the Federal Reserve would continue to raise interest rates.
Demand for gold from central banks fell to 228.4 tons in the first quarter, down 40% from the previous three months, according to a report by the World Gold Council. While this is still strong, it is the second consecutive quarter of decline, in a sign that bullion purchases by institutions may be coming to an end.
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