World Gold Council

For further information please contact:

David Schraeder
World Gold Council
917.224.6473
david.schraeder@gold.org

Nicky McHugh
MSLGROUP
646.500.7927
nicky.mchugh@mslgroup.com

Optimal reserve asset portfolio allocations given a 65% allocation to US dollar and euro denominated assets
Optimal reserve asset portfolio allocations given a 65% allocation to US dollar and euro denominated assets
Historical and estimated US dollar and euro denominated reserve assets
Historical and estimated US dollar and euro denominated reserve assets

Central banks adding gold and alternative assets to diversify US dollar and euro reserves

New York, March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — A new report by the World Gold Council, “Central bank diversification strategies – rebalancing from the dollar and the euro”, examines the growing trend of central banks’ actively looking to diversify their reserve portfolios. While the dollar is still the primary global currency, its long-term dominance is less certain. In response, central banks are reducing allocations to US dollars and euros while increasing purchases of traditional assets such as gold and Japanese yen and new alternatives including Chinese renminbi.

The official reserves of global central banks have grown from $2 trillion in 2000 to more than $12 trillion in 2012. During this same twelve-year period the data shows significant shifts away from the US dollar while the share of “other” currencies in reserve composition has tripled in absolute terms since 2008.

Gold has a long history as a reserve asset for central banks, and as such is considered a traditional one. Gold is statistically uncorrelated with other traditional reserves and new alternatives, making it one of the most important assets for diversifying out of the US dollar and euro. In line with this trend, central bank gold buying in the fourth quarter of 2012 marked the eighth consecutive quarter of net purchases by the official sector and the highest level since 1964.

Ashish Bhatia, Manager for Government Affairs at the World Gold Council said:

“Building gold reserves in tandem with new alternatives is an optimal strategy as central banks remain under-allocated to gold and many attractive alternatives are either too small or, as is the case with the renminbi, not yet open to broader international participation.

“Gold has a deep and liquid market with no credit risk, making it one of the most attractive assets for central banks to consider as they diversify away from the US dollar and euro. Gold’s tail-risk hedging properties add to its appeal as a particularly valuable component of a diversified reserve portfolio.”

The study is predicated on the assumption that central banks will continue to hold 65% of their assets in dollars and euros, while looking for high quality alternatives including Chinese, Canadian, Australian, Swiss, and Danish denominated assets for the balance of their reserves. It quantifies the benefits of these alternatives using portfolio optimisation methodology and examines their diversification benefits while providing context for potential limits to their use due to limited availability or access.

Key findings include:

This analysis demonstrates that gold and traditional reserve assets can play a complementary role alongside alternative assets as central banks seek to diversify their US dollar and euro heavy reserve portfolios. The results suggest it would be prudent for reserve managers to build gold reserves to achieve optimal levels relative to other traditional and alternative reserve assets.

The full text of “Central bank diversification strategies – rebalancing from the dollar and the euro” can be viewed here.

ENDS

Note to editors:

World Gold Council
The World Gold Council is the market development organisation for the gold industry. Working within the investment, jewellery and technology sectors, as well as engaging in government affairs, our purpose is to provide industry leadership, whilst stimulating and sustaining demand for gold.

We develop gold-backed solutions, services and markets, based on true market insight. As a result, we create structural shifts in demand for gold across key market sectors.

We provide insights into the international gold markets, helping people to better understand the wealth preservation qualities of gold and its role in meeting the social and environmental needs of society.

Based in the UK, with operations in India, the Far East, Europe and the US, the World Gold Council is an association whose members include the world’s leading and most forward thinking gold mining companies.