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Yellow hue to take up 3% of foreign reserves

CHINA is expected to increase its gold reserves to diversify its assets from less than 2 percent of its foreign reserves to 3 percent within five years, industry veterans said yesterday in Shanghai.

"It's a difficult task to maintain this target but it is important for China to boost its gold reserves," Sun Zhaoxue, chairman of the China Gold Association and president of China National Gold Group Corp, told Shanghai Daily on the sidelines of the Lujiazui Forum yesterday in the city.

China has added 454 tons to its gold reserves since 2003 - bringing the total to 1,054 tons - through domestic purchases and the refining of scrap gold, Hu Xiaolian, head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, said in late April.

It was the first public comment on the top-secret gold holdings in the past six years. China now ranks fifth in gold reserves, behind the United States, Germany, France and Italy. The US, the biggest gold holder, has a reserve of more than 8,000 tons.

Despite the announced increase, China's gold stockpile amounts to less than 2 percent of its total foreign reserves, based on gold's current price of about US$900 an ounce.

China holds the world's biggest foreign-exchange reserves, backed by its strong trade growth in the past decade. China's forex reserves stood at US$1.95 trillion by the end of last year, up US$417.8 billion from the year earlier.

Meanwhile, Sun also said that China is expected to keep its position as the world's biggest gold producer this year by producing about 290 tons of gold in 2009, up from its output of 282 tons last year.


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