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S. African Reserve Bank adds 700,000 gold ounces to reserves in January

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Evan Pickworth
I-Net Bridge, South Africa
Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The South African Reserve Bank's holdings of gold reserves increased markedly in January to 4.684 million ounces from 3.990 million ounces in December 2006, and according to a leading economist, this could be due to the bank's taking the opportunity to build up reserves when it is "hard to argue against a long-term bullish view on gold."

"Keep in mind that they do not declare the constituents of the portfolio, so whatever we say is speculation. You could, however, look at gold as another reserve currency and it is hard to argue against a long-term bullish view on gold," explained Goolam Ballim, chief economist from Standard Bank.

"There is a cautionary motive to some of the South African Reserve Bank activities and this is in line with the constructive view that it is an opportunity to build up reserves," he concluded.

The SARB's gold and foreign assets total 187.696 billion rand at the end of January from 178.318 billion rand at the end of December, the SARB announced on Wednesday.

The gold component was valued at an average price of 4,684.15 rand an ounce.

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