This handout picture obtained on October 22, 2008 from the Bank of England press office shows gold bullion bars in the vaults at the Bank of England, in London. Gold has benefitted from its status as a safe bet in times of economic turmoil. AFP PHOTO/Newscast/HANDOUT NO SALES/RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE/GETTY OUT (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images)

Net gold purchases for August amounted to 57.3 t, reflecting gross purchases of 61.1 t and gross sales of 4.8 t, World Gold Council (WGC) market intelligence director Alistair Hewitt said in a statement on Monday. He added purchases were significantly higher than the modest demand of 12.8 t recorded for July.

On a net basis, reported year-to-date purchases now total more than 450 t.

Fourteen central banks have increased their gold reserves so far this year, while two have decreased their gold reserves.

WGC market intelligence representative Krishan Gopaul commented that, with global uncertainty remaining elevated and with little indication that it would subside anytime soon, central banks continued to see a role for greater levels of gold in their reserve portfolios.

Gross purchases in August were concentrated among four central banks. Of the total gross purchases, Turkey made the most sizeable addition of 41.8 t to its gold reserves.

Russia bought 11.3 t of gold, while China bought 5.9 t and Qatar 3.1 t.

Gross sales were limited to the central banks in Kazakhstan, selling 2.6 t, and Uzbekistan, selling 2.2 t.

“Should central banks remain net purchasers this year – which is looking like a racing certainty – it’ll also mark a decade since they switched from being net sellers,” said Gopaul. The US in August held the biggest gold reserve globally, at 8 133 t, with Germany second, at 3 366 t. South Africa held 125 t of gold in central bank reserves.