The Czech National Bank buys gold. Its gold reserves have been increased by 37.5% since January
09. 06. 2023
The Czech National Bank has been buying gold at a pace unprecedented for a long time. From January to May this year, they have been expanding their gold reserves at an average rate of 30 kg per day. They have thus completely reversed the trend of the 1990s, when they were selling the gold.
When the Czech Republic became independent in 1993, the Czech National Bank had 70 tonnes of gold in its possession. They sold most of it, 56 tonnes, in 1997 and 1998. At the end of 2019, they owned only 8 tonnes of gold. From 2020, they started adding gold to their reserves again. According to the Reuters agency, the Czech Republic's gold treasure has increased by 4.5 tonnes since the beginning of the year, reaching a total of 16.5 tonnes. This means the Czech Republic now has its highest gold reserve since 1998.
Although the Czech National Bank has made progress over the past year and has confirmed its purchasing strategy with successive purchases this year, it still has some catching up to do. Germany secures its reserves with 3,355 tonnes of gold, France owns 2,437 tonnes and Italy 2,452 tonnes. Even the equally old Slovak Republic has a larger gold reserve than the Czech Republic. Its central bank manages 31.7 tonnes of gold. Cyprus, Ireland, Slovenia, and Albania, for example, have lower reserves in Europe.
CNB Governor Aleš Michl announced last year that he would like to expand the Czech gold reserves approximately tenfold to more than 100 tonnes. "If we have an infinite investment horizon, it is very important that we have assets that do not move in the same direction. In order to diversify the portfolio, the share of 0.25 percent in gold is not enough, we need at least 10 or 15 percent of the CNB's reserves for the diversification to make sense. So the CNB should gradually buy more gold," he said. But it is hard to say when and at what price this goal will be met.
Indeed, 2022 was an exceptional year for gold. According to the World Gold Council, central banks bought almost 1,080 tonnes of gold, the most since 1950. Their interest in this asset has not waned and they continue their purchases in the 1st quarter of 2023.
Gold is considered an effective hedge against the effects of inflation and market uncertainties. This is why more and more households and individuals consider it a suitable investment. In countries with an unbroken tradition of investment, people hold a significant proportion of their wealth in physical gold. Among the champions are the citizens of Germany (with 220 grams of gold per person) and Austria (205 grams per person), for whom gold is the equivalent of a safe-guard tool for wealth protection and a means of ensuring the stability of family investments and assets. Today's high inflationary times confirm this age-old experience. Building a family gold treasure takes a long time; the important thing is to get started. Finally, central bank purchases show that there is no reason to delay.
It is generally expected that gold will gradually overcome the psychological level of USD 2 000 per troy ounce in the near future. With continued inflation and pressure on miners' production costs, this trend seems inevitable sooner or later. It remains to be seen whether this will happen this year and at what speed the gold price will rise. We may have one of the last opportunities to buy gold relatively cheaply.