Tuesday, February 1, 2011
China Should Buy More Gold, Silver for Reserves – Chinese Central Bank Advisor
From Gold Corp:
People's Bank of China adviser Xia Bin told the Economic Information Daily today that China should steadily increase its holdings of gold, silver and other precious metals. In an interview with the paper Xia said that “holdings of gold and silver can help establish the yuan as an international currency by increasing China's "final payment capacity." He advised buying precious metals on the dips and while gold and silver are marginally lower today, the remarks are another long term positive for the gold market.
Only last month, Xia made similar comments saying that the People’s Bank of China should diversify their massive $2.7 trillion foreign exchange reserves away from US dollars and increase their gold reserves as a long term strategy in order to help internationalise the yuan. The Chinese wish to make the yuan an accepted international reserve currency and establish it as a currency that will be used for payment and settlement in international trade.
China’s gold holdings, at 1,054 tonnes, remain miniscule compared to the over 8,000 tonnes held by the US Federal Reserve (gold only accounts for 1.6 percent of China’s massive currency reserves). With the supply and demand equation already tight due to international investment demand and central banks having become net buyers rather than net sellers, even a small amount of diversification out of their US dollar holdings and into gold should lead to much higher gold prices.
The reference to silver was important as it marks the first time in modern times that a central bank advisor or official has spoken about diversifying currency reserves into silver. It shows how the Chinese view silver as money rather than as simply a commodity to be consumed. Indeed, the Chinese like most of the world, used silver as currency for most of their history.
The comments may signal the start of a growing shift from seeing silver purely as an industrial commodity to seeing silver more like gold – as both an industrial commodity but more importantly as a store of value and as money. As Milton Friedman pointed out, the major monetary metal throughout history was silver, rather than gold.