According to the 2018 World Gold Survey, Turkish official gold holdings reached a new record high of 565 metric tons (mt) last year as the government decided to replace a significant amount of its Dollar reserves with gold. And, this continued even in the first quarter of 2018. Information from the World Gold Council’s Demand Trend reported that Turkey added another 30 mt of gold to its official reserves in Q1 2018.
If we look at the chart below, we can see just how much gold Turkey imported in 2017 versus 2016:
Turkish gold imports more than tripled from 106 mt in 2016 to 361 mt in 2017. Again, the large increase in Turkish gold imports was due to a 60% increase in investment demand and the 86 mt purchase by the Central bank. With the addition of the 30 mt of Central bank gold purchases in Q1 2018, official Turkish holdings are now nearly 600 mt.
Of the total 366 mt of Central bank gold purchases in 2017, Russia (224 mt) accounted for 61% of the amount while Turkey (86 mt) acquired 23% and Kazakhstan (43 mt) at 12%. The remaining 4% was split amongst Columbia, Mongolia, Indonesia, Jordan, and Thailand (Source: GFMS 2108 World Gold Survey):
What is quite interesting about the increase in Turkish gold demand and imports is how it compares to the United States. In 2017, Turkey imported 361 mt of gold versus 255 mt for the United States. Thus, Turkey, whose population is one-quarter of the United States, imported 100+ mt more gold. Of course, most of the U.S. gold imports are refined and then exported to Switzerland, United Kingdom, China and various other Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
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