By Ranjeetha Pakiam
(Bloomberg) — Singapore increased its gold reserves by about 20% earlier this year in a largely under-the-radar move that saw holdings expand for the first time in decades.
The purchases, which totalled about 26.3 tons, took place over May and June, according to data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity reports. The move came to wider prominence when it was picked up in the International Monetary Fund’s monthly update, which shows it was the first increase in figures dating back to 2000.
“The change in gold holdings is a result of the continuous and ongoing efforts by MAS to ensure that the Official Foreign Reserves portfolio remains well-diversified and resilient through economic and market conditions,” a MAS spokesperson said. “The change is a modest step in relation to the overall size of the OFR portfolio.”
MAS didn’t disclose how much it paid for the bullion, but at today’s price that would be about US$1.5 billion.
The central bank may have preferred to not draw attention to the amount of gold in its international reserves as this might encourage foreign-exchange markets to view the purchase as a move that strengthens the city-state’s reserve position and potentially put upward pressure on it’s exchange rate, according to a blog post by Ronan Manly, a precious metals analyst at Singapore dealer BullionStar.
(Updates to add MAS comment in third paragraph.)
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