Friday, February 8th 04:23 PM IST

ECB may not renew Central Bank Gold Agreement

# ECB  # CBGA  # gold buying restriction  # Gold prices  

Some analysts have suggested that letting any agreement lapse would send an unwelcome signal to the wider market that more bullion sales from Europe's gold-heavy central banks may be on the way.

BRUSSELS(BullionStreet): After ECB president Mario Draghi expressed concerns over eurozone recovery, analysts said European central banks are unlikely to renew an agreement to limit gold sales.

Some analysts have suggested that letting any agreement lapse would send an unwelcome signal to the wider market that more bullion sales from Europe's gold-heavy central banks may be on the way.

The first five-year Central Bank Gold Agreement was established eight years ago to stabilise gold prices then languishing below $300, partly due to frequent central bank sales.

The 15 signatories of the Central Bank Gold Agreement sold 497.2 tons during the first year, 395.8 tons in the second year and 475.8 tons in the third year that ended on Sept. 26.

The amount of gold the region's central banks can sell in any given period has been capped by a series of Central Bank Gold Agreements since 1999, after a spate of disposals by the official sector, including a 395-tonne tonne sale by the Bank of England, shook up the bullion market.

Central banks moved from being net sellers of gold to net buyers on an annual basis in 2010 for the first time since 1989. Gold buying from the official sector rose to a 48-year high of 536 tonnes last year.

Central bank buying was one of the factors that sent gold prices to record highs at $1,920.30 an ounce in late 2011. Prices have since fallen back, however, and have struggled to break back above $1,800 an ounce in the last year.

Much of that interest came from central banks in Asia and the developing world, which traditionally held a lower proportion of their reserves in gold than central banks in Europe.

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