South Africa’s Gold Reserves Surge: SARB Reports Major Gains in March

GOLD
  1. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) reported an overall increase in the country’s gold and foreign exchange reserves as of March 31, 2023, with gold reserves experiencing a significant jump of $695 million due to the rise in the US dollar gold price.
  2. South Africa’s gross reserves increased by $831 million, reaching a total of $61.851 billion, while the international liquidity position saw a substantial increase of $1.145 billion, totaling $55.229 billion.
  3. The changes in the reserves and international liquidity position were attributed to the increase in the US dollar gold price, depreciation of the US dollar, and asset price movements, partially offset by foreign exchange payments made on behalf of the government.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has released an information notice detailing the US dollar equivalent of its official gold and foreign exchange reserves, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), and foreign currency deposits received from customers as of March 31, 2023.

The report reveals an overall increase in the country’s reserves. The gold reserves experienced a significant jump of $695 million, from $7.289 billion in February to $7.984 billion in March. This increase is mainly attributed to the rise in the US dollar gold price, which saw a 9.53% change, reaching $1,980.22.

SDR holdings also saw an increase of $80 million, moving from $6.272 billion in February to $6.352 billion in March. Meanwhile, foreign exchange reserves, including foreign currency deposits received (FDR), experienced a modest increase of $56 million, reaching $47.515 billion in March.

As a result, South Africa’s gross reserves increased by $831 million, totaling $61.851 billion. This rise in gross reserves and international liquidity position can be attributed to the increase in the US dollar gold price, the depreciation of the US dollar, and asset price movements. These factors were partially offset by the foreign exchange payments made on behalf of the government.

The forward position, which mainly reflects outstanding foreign exchange forward transactions, experienced a minimal change, decreasing by $1 million to $550 million.

South Africa’s international liquidity position saw a substantial increase of $1.145 billion, reaching a total of $55.229 billion in March.

The report also highlighted the changes in various exchange rates, including the EUR/US$, GBP/US$, US$/ZAR, SDR/US$, and US$/CNY, which experienced fluctuations due to the changing global economic landscape.

South African Reserve Bank Reserves and Positions (US$ millions)

Item31 March 202328 February 2023Change (US$ millions)
Gold reserves7,9847,289695
SDR holdings6,3526,27280
Foreign exchange reserves (incl. FDR)47,51547,45956
Gross reserves61,85161,020831
Foreign currency deposits received(7,172)(7,487)315
Forward position550551(1)
International liquidity position55,22954,0841,145
Table showing the changes in South African Reserve Bank’s reserves and positions between 28 February 2023 and 31 March 2023.

Exchange Rates and Gold Price % Change

ItemRate (31 March 2023)Rate (28 February 2023)% Change
EUR/US$1.08741.06112.48
GBP/US$1.23751.20932.33
US$/ZAR17.772218.4319(3.58)
SDR/US$1.34521.32881.24
US$/CNY6.87456.9390(0.93)
Gold price (US$)1,980.221,807.889.53
Table showing the changes in exchange rates and gold price between 28 February 2023 and 31 March 2023.

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