December 21, 2012 / 12:15 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 3-Iraq adds to gold reserve, 1st time in years -IMF data

* Iraq added to holdings in Aug and Sept, cut in Oct

* Brazil added another 14.68 tonnes to reserves in Nov

* Turkey cut its holdings by 5.84 tonnes last month

Dec 20 - Iraq made its first major move in years to bolster its gold reserves in recent months, while Brazil increased its holdings of bullion by almost a third in November, data from the International Monetary Fund showed on Thursday.

The IMF’s monthly statistics report showed Iraq’s gold holdings quadrupled to 31.07 tonnes over the course of three months between August and October.

In the first change in its reserve in years, the country added some 23.9 tonnes in August, bringing the total to 29.7 tonnes. That was followed by a 2.3-tonne rise in September to 32.09 tonnes and then by a cut of 1.02 tonnes in October to 31.07 tonnes. There was no data for November.

More recently, Brazil raised its gold holdings by 14.68 tonnes, or 28 percent, in November, bringing its bullion reserves to 67.19 tonnes, Thursday’s data showed.

The addition comes on the heels of an even bigger increase in October when the South American country added 17.17 tonnes to its reserves. In September, it increased holdings by 2 tonnes.

Meanwhile Turkey cut its gold holdings last month by 5.84 tonnes to 314 tonnes from October. The country allows commercial banks to use gold as collateral for loans, and changes to its balance sheet are often connected to such activity.

Belarus upped its reserves by 1.39 tonnes to 42.7 tonnes, while Russia, which had both bought and sold gold on a number of occasions this year, increased its holdings by 2.86 tonnes to 937.8 tonnes.

Central bank buying of gold has been a major support to gold prices, which hit record highs a year ago.

Prices have come under pressure from heavy liquidation by hedge funds this week. Signs of an improving U.S. economy have triggered selling. Prices fell below $1,650 an ounce on Thursday for the first time since August.

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