Central Bank doubles gold reserves holdings in 12 months

Financial regulator increased store of gold reserves to 12 metric tonnes

The Central Bank of Ireland has doubled the amount it owns in gold reserves over the past 12 months.

Against the background of rising inflation, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has confirmed that, in the first quarter of this year, the Central Bank increased its gold reserves to 12 metric tonnes.

In a written Dáil reply to independent TD Carol Nolan, Mr Donohoe confirmed that the 12 metric tonnes figure was double the amount of gold the Central Bank had in the first quarter of 2021.

Figures provided by Mr Donohoe show that Central Bank gold reserves remained unchanged at six tonnes from 2011 to last year.


Balance sheet resilience

The value of the Central Bank’s 12 tonnes in gold reserves was about €690 million at current market prices.

In his reply, Mr Donohoe said: “The Central Bank increased its holdings of physical gold during 2021 and early 2022 as part of the diversified longer-term investment strategy for the discretionary investment assets, aimed at improving balance sheet resilience. Stocks of gold are primarily in the form of gold bars but also include a small amount of gold coin.”

According to the Central Bank’s most recent annual report gold and gold receivables consisted of coins held in the Central Bank, together with gold bars held at the Bank of England.

The report noted that the value of the gold reserves increased from €262 million at the end of 2019 to €299 million at the end of 2020 as a result of global price increases.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times