Central banks around the world bought a record $15.7 billion of gold in the first six months of 2019.
Central banks have increased gold reserves as economic growth slows, trade and geopolitical tensions rise, and countries move to diversify away from the dollar.
Gold reached a six-year high in July but spot gold edged 0.5% lower on Thursday to $1,407.04 an ounce, reducing this year’s gains to 9.7%.
Countries have increased gold holdings by about 14% since 2009 with the total hoard now valued at roughly $1.6 trillion, according to Bloomberg.
“Central bank buying and healthy ETF inflows were the driving forces behind gold demand throughout the first half of 2019,” said the World Gold Council.
The council said central banks bought 224.4 tons of gold in Q2 2019.
“This took H1 buying to 374.1 tons – the largest net H1 increase in global gold reserves in our 19-year quarterly data series,” said the council.
“Buying was again spread across a diverse range of – largely emerging market – countries.”