China now analysing Indian gold purchase from IMF

Traders are now betting on who will announce the next big purchase. Will it be China looking to employ its $US2.3 trillion of reserves? What about Japan, which has the second-biggest pile of currency? Or Gulf states working to end dollar hegemony? And let’s not forget about Brazil and South Korea. Well done, India.

While India’s people are major gold hoarders, the government hasn’t been a big one. India really did display the savvy of a hedge fund here. It got what it wanted, surprised markets and will sit back and reap the benefits as gold rallies.

The price of gold leapt to a record peak of $US1,093.10 an ounce in trading in London on Wednesday in the wake of the International Monetary Fund’s massive sale of the precious metal to India.

India is going its own way with a $US6.7 billion gold purchase. The transaction turned heads in markets. It should do the same in capitals from Beijing to Washington.

India’s 200 metric-ton deal wasn’t huge considering how much gold central banks hold. It’s the symbolism that matters as the US struggles to keep the dollar’s slide orderly and panic- free. Consider India the vanguard of central banks more aggressively diversifying reserves away from US assets.

Gold had already reached a record high of $US1,087.80 on Tuesday as the IMF said it had sold 200 tonnes of gold to India’s central bank over a two-week period last month for $US6.7 billion ($A7.42 billion) to bolster its finances.

After spiking to a new high on Wednesday, gold pulled back slightly to stand at $US1,091 in London morning trade.

Gold and other commodity prices have surged in recent months amid a move away from the dollar, which has been slumping. The move accelerated last month on a report that Gulf states may stop using the greenback for oil trading.

India is the world’s biggest consumer of gold, importing between 700 and 800 tonnes of the metal every year or 20 per cent of global demand.

A senior IMF official said that the IMF was “lucky” in selling the 200 tonnes to India for roughly $US1,045 an ounce, compared with $US850 an ounce in April 2008.

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