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Gold at new high after Saudi Arabia doubles its reserves

GOLD surged yesterday to a fresh high of more than $1,265 (£857) after it was revealed that Saudi Arabia’s reserves of the precious metal had doubled.

New estimates from the World Gold Council published yesterday revealed that the world’s largest oil exporter has twice as much gold as previously thought.

The World Gold Council’s quarterly report, which includes figures up to the end of April, said that an adjustment in the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency’s (Sama) gold accounts raised the Gulf state’s reported reserves to 322.9 tonnes from 143 tonnes, making it the world’s sixteenth-largest holder of gold.

Russia also added 26.6 tonnes to its reported reserves, which now stand at 668.6 tonnes, while the Philippines added 9.5 tonnes, taking its holdings to 164.7 tonnes.

Central banks have turned to holding gold amid worries about inflation and the dollar’s status as a world reserve currency.

Global central bank gold reserves rose 276.3 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010 to reach 30,462.8 tonnes.

Separately, the World Gold Council and Augmentum Capital, a growth capital fund backed by RIT Capital Partners, invested £12.5m in BullionVault, a gold investment platform in exchange for an equity stake.