Reserve Bank of India’s gold holding increased by 27.46 metric tonnes in FY24 to 822.10 metric tonnes as at end-March 2024, according to its “Half Yearly Report on Management of Foreign Exchange Reserves”.

In value terms (USD), the share of gold in the total foreign exchange reserves increased to about 8.15 per cent as at end-March 2024 from about 7.81 per cent as at end-March 2023.

World Gold Council, in its latest report, noted that the multi-year trend of net central bank buying appears established, but some central banks may well be willing to wait on the sidelines in response to the recent price surge.

Equally, opportunistic sellers may be more likely to get drawn out with the stellar price rise so far this year, it added.

Of RBI’s total gold holdings as at March-end 2024, 408.31 metric tonnes (301.10 metric tonnes as of March-end 2023) were held domestically.

While 387.26 metric tonnes (437.22 metric tonnes) of gold were kept in safe custody with the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), 26.53 metric tonnes (56.32 metric tonnes) were held in the form of gold deposits.

Adequacy of reserves

At the end of December 2023, foreign exchange reserves covering imports (on a balance of payments basis) increased to 11 months from 9.3 months. 

The ratio of short-term debt (original maturity) to reserves, which was 23.0 per cent at end-December 2022, decreased to 20.3 per cent at end-December 2023.

The ratio of volatile capital flows (including cumulative portfolio inflows and outstanding short-term debt) to reserves decreased from 72.7 at end-December 2022 to 70.4 per cent at end-December 2023.

As at end-March 2024, out of the total FCA (foreign currency assets) of $570.95 billion ($509.69 billion as at March-end 2023), $468.99 billion was invested in securities ($411.65 billion), $62.17 billion ($75.51 billion) was deposited with other central banks and the BIS and the balance $39.79 billion ($22.52 billion) comprised deposits with commercial banks overseas.