Korea ups gold stash, ranks 36th in world

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Korea ups gold stash, ranks 36th in world

Korea’s ranking in terms of gold holdings jumped last year as the country continued to invest in the metal as part of efforts to diversify its foreign reserve portfolios, a report showed yesterday.

Korea’s gold holdings came to 84.4 tons last year, the 36th largest among 100 countries surveyed, according to the report by the World Gold Council. The ranking was up from 56th tallied in July 2011.

The rise came as the country has kept purchasing gold, which is regarded as one of the safest investment assets that could replace the U.S. dollar amid lingering global economic uncertainty.

The Bank of Korea purchased 40 tons of gold in 2011 for the first time in 13 years. In July and November last year, the central bank also bought additional 16 tons and 14 tons of gold.

Korea wasn’t the only country increasing its gold holdings. Turkey purchased more than 121 tons of gold between July and December.

The United States topped the list by holding 8,133.5 tons of gold, followed by Germany with 3,391.3 tons and the International Monetary Fund with 2,814 tons, the report showed.

Korea’s gold holdings are estimated at about $4.49 billion as of December, which accounted for 1.4 percent of the country’s foreign reserve of $326.9 billion, the report showed.

The ratio was still far lower than other developed countries. The ratios for the U.S. and Germany were 75.7 percent and 72.8 percent, while those for China and Japan stood at 1.7 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively, according to the report. Yonhap
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