Uzbekistan has become the world’s top seller of gold for the second month in a row, the World Gold Council reports.

Global gold reserves of central banks increased by 44 tons in November, according to the International Monetary Fund and open data. The robust demand for the precious metal persisted, with net gold purchases totaling 60 tons, surpassing gross sales of 15 tons.

In November 2023, the main buyer of gold was Turkey acquiring 25 tons (China led in October with 23 tons). Poland secured the second spot with 19 tons, followed by China (12 tons), the Czech Republic (three tons), and Kyrgyzstan (one ton).

In the same month, Uzbekistan sold 11 tons of gold, which is the same amount as in October. Kazakhstan sold three tons.

However, concluding 2023, Uzbekistan secured the second position in net sales of precious metals, exceeding 30 tons, with Kazakhstan emerging as the leader with approximately 50 tons in gold sales.

central bank, foreign exchange and gold reserves, gold, gold export, reserves

China held the top position as the largest buyer, followed by Poland and Singapore.

Uzbekistan achieved a record gold export of $8.15 billion in the first 11 months of 2023, which is 2.3 times more compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, according to the Agency of Statistics. November alone contributed $1.28 billion to the export figure.

Decrease in Uzbekistan’s foreign exchange and gold reserves

On January 1, 2024, Uzbekistan’s official reserve assets reached $34.56 billion, having increased by $1.67 billion in December, as per data from the Central Bank.

The foreign currency reserves experienced a growth of $751.3 million, while the physical volume of gold saw an increase from 11.6 million to 11.9 million troy ounces (+9.3 tons), resulting in a $906.3 million surge in the gold reserve’s value.

However, by the end of 2023, the overall “financial safety cushion” for the country witnessed a decrease by $1.2 billion, declining from $35.77 billion to $34.56 billion. Foreign currency reserves decreased by $2.27 billion, amounting to $9.37 billion.

While the value of the gold reserve rose by $1.57 billion to $23.06 billion, the physical volume of the precious metal slightly decreased by 0.8 million troy ounces (-24.8 tons) to 11.9 million troy ounces (370.1 tons). This decrease is attributed to the rise in the price of gold per ounce from about $1,815 to $2,066 over the year, marking a 13.8% increase.

The country’s foreign exchange and gold reserves are experiencing a year-on-year decline for the first time since 2018 when there was a decrease of $1.55 billion, reducing the reserves to $27.2 billion. Following that, there was a successive increase in reserves: 2019 (+$2.7 billion), 2020 (+$4.38 billion), 2021 (+$105.5 million), and 2022 (+$1.5 billion).