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RBI Gold Holdings and Foreign Exchange Reserves Update

In the fiscal year 2023-24, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) saw a significant increase in its gold reserves, adding 27.46 metric tonnes and reaching a total of 822.10 metric tonnes by the end of March 2024. This brought the share of gold in the total foreign exchange reserves to about 8.15%, up from 7.81% in the previous year.

Trends in Central Bank Gold Buying

The World Gold Council highlighted a continuing trend of net central bank buying, though some banks may opt to remain on the sidelines amidst recent price surges. Opportunistic selling might also emerge due to the substantial price rise observed during the year.

Composition of RBI’s Gold Holdings

Out of RBI’s total gold holdings, 408.31 metric tonnes were held domestically, while 387.26 metric tonnes were kept in safe custody with the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements. Additionally, 26.53 metric tonnes were held in the form of gold deposits.

Reserve Adequacy Metrics

By December 2023, RBI’s foreign exchange reserves covering imports increased to 11 months from 9.3 months, indicating improved reserve adequacy. The ratio of short-term debt to reserves decreased from 23.0% to 20.3%, and the ratio of volatile capital flows to reserves declined from 72.7% to 70.4% during the same period.

Allocation of Foreign Currency Assets (FCA)

As of March 2024, out of the total FCA of $570.95 billion, $468.99 billion was invested in securities, $62.17 billion was deposited with other central banks and the BIS, and the remaining $39.79 billion comprised deposits with commercial banks overseas.

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