UPDATE 1-Turkey tops central banks' gold buying in Aug - IMF

Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:13am EDT
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* Turkey lifts gold holdings by about 23 tonnes in Aug

* Russia also among 8 central banks that bought more gold

* Followed drop in gold prices to sub-$1,300 levels in Aug

By A. Ananthalakshmi

SINGAPORE, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Turkey raised its gold reserves by the most in five months in August and topped the list of countries that bought more bullion, according to the International Monetary Fund, showing that gold's appeal remains intact despite falling prices.

Russia, which has the world's seventh largest reserves of gold, increased its holdings last month by the biggest amount since December, according to the IMF data on Wednesday.

Eight central banks increased reserves in August, down from 15 in July, while five cut their holdings.

Gold holdings by central banks are keenly watched since the group became net buyers in 2010 after two decades as net sellers. The 2008 global economic crisis triggered resurgent official-sector interest in gold.

"This is consistent with our view that central banks continue to view gold as good value on a long-term basis," said Victor Thianpiriya, an analyst with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.   Continued...