Iraq bought 36 metric tons of gold this month valued at about $1.56 billion in the largest purchase by a nation in three years.
The Central Bank of Iraq acquired the metal to help stabilize the Iraqi dinar against foreign currencies, it said in an e-mailed statement. The country held about 29.8 tons of bullion as of August, according to data on the International Monetary Fund’s website. The latest addition was the biggest since Mexico bought 78.5 tons in March 2011.
While nations purchased about 544 tons in 2012 in the largest accumulation in about five decades, acquisitions slowed to 369 tons last year, according to the London-based World Gold Council. Countries will continue buying amounts in the “hundreds” of tons, the producer-funded council said in February. Bullion prices rebounded 9.2 percent since December, after slumping the most since 1981 last year as demand for a store of value waned.
“Gold is quite attractive to central bankers,” Mark O’Byrne, a director in Dublin at brokerage GoldCore Ltd., which has more than $200 million in bullion under management, said today by phone. “They see it as an important asset diversification and a safe-haven element within foreign-exchange reserves.”
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