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UPDATE 1-China adds 21 tonnes to gold reserves in November on price slump

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SINGAPORE/BEIJING, Dec 8 (Reuters) - China’s gold reserves rose by nearly 21 tonnes last month, the biggest purchase since it began disclosing monthly data on the stockpile earlier this year, central bank data showed on Tuesday.

Gold reserves stood at 56.05 million fine troy ounces at the end of November, up from 55.38 million at end-October, according to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

In tonnage terms, reserves totaled 1,743.35 tonnes at the end of last month, an increase of 20.8 tonnes from October.

The data is close to a Reuters estimate of 20.9 tonnes, calculated on Monday from PBOC data and the spot gold price.

The PBOC usually announces the dollar value of its gold reserve early in the month, before revealing the volume later.

Prior to November, the central bank had been adding between 14 tonnes and 19 tonnes of gold, as the country has sought to diversify its foreign exchange reserves.

Purchases last month accelerated as gold prices slumped to their lowest since February 2010, hurt by a looming U.S. interest rate hike. They lost nearly 7 percent last month, the biggest monthly drop since June 2013.

China disclosed its gold holdings in June this year for the first time since April 2009, and has been providing monthly updates since then. (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore, Winni Zhou and Nicholas Heath in Beijing; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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