Singapore – The World’s largest central bank gold buyer in Q1 2023


by Ronan Manly, BullionStar:

Last year, a major theme in the global gold market was the record gold buying by central banks across the world, with the World Gold Council and its data gatherers (Metals Focus) calculating that central banks had cumulatively purchased a net 1136 tonnes of monetary gold during 2022.

At the outset of 2023, this led the World Gold Council to predict that:

“Looking ahead, we see little reason to doubt that central banks will remain positive towards gold and continue to be net purchasers in 2023.”


This indeed has proven to be the case, for after Q1 2023 drew to a close, the World Gold Council estimated that in the first quarter of 2023, the world’s central banks had again been net buyers of gold to the tune of a combined 228 tonnes. This is the strongest first quarter of central bank gold buying on record.

And the central bank leading the pack in this gold accumulation has been none other than BullionStar’s neighbour, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), whose headquarters are literally a short 2 kms stroll from BullionStar’s shop and showroom in Singapore’s central business district.

For in the space of 3 months between January and March 2023, Singapore’s central bank has quietly bought an incredible 68.7 tonnes of gold, making Singapore the world’s leading sovereign gold buyer for the first quarter of 2023, even ahead of China.

While the first tranche of Singapore’s gold purchases in January 2023 was covered in a BullionStar article from early March titled “Singapore’s central bank MAS boosts gold reserves to nearly 200 tonnes”, this, as it turns out, was only the beginning, for the Monetary Authority of Singapore kept coming back, adding more gold to its reserves in both February and March 2023.

The Details

In typically discreet fashion, Singapore’s central bank (MAS), does not announce its gold buying via press release or any other method of publicity. MAS merely updates the data on its website in a monthly report called ‘International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity’, which is published on the last day of the month and covers the previous month.

Up until the end of December 2022, MAS had been reporting total gold reserves of 153.8 tonnes (4.94 million ozs). At the end of February, it became apparent from the report that in January 2023, MAS had added a gigantic 44.6 tonnes of gold to its official reserves, thereby increasing Singapore’s gold holdings from 153.8 tonnes to 198.4 tonnes in just one month.

When the ‘International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity’ came out at the end of March, it again showed that MAS had added another 6.79 tonnes of gold in February – thereby boosting Singapore’s gold holdings to over 205 tonnes.

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