The world's central banks, led by Russia, purchased 477 metric tons of gold during calendar year 2014. According to the World Gold Council's Gold Demand Trends, the figure was the second highest total year of central bank net purchases in 50 years.
The 2014 total represents a 17 percent increase over 2013 levels.
Russia added 173 metric tons of gold to its central bank reserves, or 36 percent of the 2014 central bank total purchases. A metric ton equals 1 million grams, or 32,150 troy ounces.
Following Russia were Kazakhstan and Iraq, each with 48 metric tons, and Azerbaijan, with 10 metric tons.
Russia's gold acquisitions in 2014 place its central bank reserves in the top five, behind the United States, Germany, Italy and France. Russia's gold holdings are approximately 12 percent of its total foreign reserves.
Gold bar and coin demand in the United States dropped by nearly a third, to 46.7 metric tons in 2014, while Middle Eastern gold coin and bar demand dropped 23 percent, to 41.7 metric tons. European investor demand for gold coins and bars dipped 18 percent to 220 metric tons.
Overall worldwide total gold bar and coin demand dropped to 1,063.6 metric tons in 2014, from 1,765.4 metric tons the year before. Demand for government-issued gold coins dropped from 276.6 metric tons in 2013, to 178.5 metric tons in 2014.
Worldwide mining production, according to the World Gold Councul, reached a record level of 3,114.4 metric tons in 2014. Among the countries seeing production increases were China, Mongolia, Argentina and Democratic Republic of Congo.
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