Tuesday, February 12th 12:28 PM IST

Middle East nations urged to increase Gold holdings

# Middle East  # Gold holdings  # IMF  # WGC  

Despite the fact that most Middle Eastern nations pegged their currencies to the dollar, they should expand their gold reserves holdings,

DUBAI(BullionStreet): Despite the fact that most Middle Eastern nations pegged their currencies to the dollar, they should expand their gold reserves holdings, according to Dubai International Financial Centre Authority.

This will help shield their assets in dollars from volatilities in global currency markets, it said.

Here is a list of the Middle Eastern countries in respect of their gold holdings.

Saudi Arabia : The country occupies the first place in the ranking in the Arab world and the 14th of the top twenty holders of gold worldwide. According to statistics revealed by the World Gold Council, Saudi Arabia increased its assets. In July

2012 the Kingdom raised its holding by 17 tons on a year over year basis. It holds gold reserves of approximately 339.6 tons. Saudi Arabia is the top gold holder in the Gulf region.

Lebanon : According to data by the World Gold Council, Lebanon’s official gold holdings stood at 286.8 tons. This places Lebanon in the 18th position among the 100 countries worldwide in terms of gold reserves. Also it is the second among the 14 surveyed countries in the region.

Iraq : In recent months, Iraq made its first major move in years to boost its gold reserves. The country joined central banks from emerging market economies such as Brazil and Russia in diversifying its foreign reserves. Over the course of three months between August and October last year, Iraq’s gold holdings quadrupled to 31.07 tons, the International Monetary Fund’s monthly statistics reported the first change in its reserve in years, the country added some 23.9 tons in August, bringing the total to 29.7 tons. That was followed by a 2.3-tonne additional increase in September to 32.09 tons and then by a cut of 1.02 tons in October to 31.07 tons.

UAE : Gold trading in the United Arab Emirates is on the rise and going a strong in 2012. Dubai International Financial Centre Authority economists released a report calling for Emirates to build gold reserves. Despite the high interest in gold, UAE maintain less than 5% of their total reserves in gold.

Qatar : As part of its efforts to gain more access to physical gold through the sovereign wealth fund, Qatar is looking at North Africa’s Algeria. The Persian gulf state and Algeria signed a memorandum of understanding over mining cooperation and also agreed to study possible establishment of a joint company for exploration of gold. Qatar is one of the wealthiest nation worldwide, but physical gold apparently is not on the priority list.

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