With 132.34 metric tonnes (MT) of gold purchase, RBI emerged as the largest buyer of the yellow metal among central banks between April 2020 and September 2022. Also, RBI was the top gold buyer among its peers in 2020 while it stood third in 2021. In 2020, it bought 41.68 MT of gold while in 2021 and 2022 (till September end) it bought 77.5 MT and 31.25 MT respectively.
In 2021 the huge gold buying by RBI occurred in the backdrop of falling yellow metal price in the global bullion market but War in Europe proved beneficial for gold as the price crossed $2,000 per ounce in the first week of March 2022. But, the yellow metal lost its gains in the middle of March as consistent rate hikes by the Federal Reserve strengthened Dollar Index and bonds emerged as attractive investment options for Institutions and retail investors.
Every major central bank keeps a portion of its reserves in gold as it plays a fine hedging instrument in the time of uncertainty and economic turmoil. During the balance of payment crisis in 1990-91, Indian government pledged 67 MT of gold to the Bank of England and Union Bank of Switzerland. During uncertain economic conditions, gold price takes upward trajectory and it was evident in 2020 when Covid induced economic turmoil made gold price touch an all time high of $2,067 per ounce. Since then GDP across the globe has picked up. Demand for yellow metal reduced with economic stability and prices declined consistently in 2021.