The number of central banks buying gold is expected to increase substantially this year. According to the 2020 Central Bank Gold Reserves (CBGR) survey, 20% of central banks intend to increase their gold reserves over the next 12 months, compared to just 8% of respondents in the 2019 survey. The increase is particularly notable as central bank buying has reached record levels in recent years, adding around 650 tonnes in 2019 alone.
Several of the survey’s key findings may explain the significant growth in planned gold purchases by central banks: 88% of respondents say that negative interest rates are a relevant factor for their reserve management decisions. The continuation of expansionary monetary policies due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which coincided with the fieldwork of this survey, will likely keep interest rates near zero for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, 79% of respondents view gold’s performance during times of crisis as an important reason to hold gold, up from 59% in 2019; while 74% of respondents consider gold’s lack of default risk to be an important reason for holding the metal, up from 59% in 2019. These shifts may suggest a re-evaluation of gold’s role amidst ongoing financial and economic uncertainty, while also reflecting long-term concerns about fiscal sustainability as government stimulus is deployed to cushion the global economy.
We highlight several key insights below – download the full report for more.