Gold is what people tend to hoard during a pandemic or any other distressful situation. According to a World Gold Council survey, the yellow metal's “performance during times of crisis” is now the top reason to hold gold. As many as 79 percent of respondents mark gold as highly or somewhat relevant. At the same time, central banks continue to be positive on gold and around 21 percent of them around the globe intend to increase their gold reserves over the next 12 months, the survey jointly undertaken by the World Gold Council and YouGov revealed.
The '2021 Central Bank Gold Reserves (CBGR)' survey also noted that central banks are also increasingly valuing gold's performance during periods of crisis as this attribute now tops their rationale for holding gold.
"These results come amid ongoing uncertainty stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, a situation which has added significant complexity to central bank reserve management," said the report.
It noted that this year's CBGR survey indicates continuing central bank interest in gold. Potentially driving this interest is a growing recognition of gold's financial characteristics, particularly during periods of crisis, said the report.
"At the same time, ongoing concerns about global market volatility and the path of the post-pandemic economic recovery continue to inform central banks' views of gold. These same factors may also be clouding respondents' opinions on the overall direction of central bank gold holdings despite having more certainty on their own plans for gold," it added.
Looking ahead, the World Gold Council report said that central banks will need to balance financial and geopolitical uncertainty with a potentially strong pickup in global growth.
"We believe that central banks will continue to be net buyers of gold, although total purchase volumes may not be as large as in the previous decade."
The slightly stronger conviction towards gold amongst respondents in this year's survey may suggest that central banks have a clearer picture of their plans for the coming year, and is supportive of continued gold purchases from the official sector, it added.
Several of the survey's findings point to a growing complexity. Around 84 per cent of respondents report that uncertainty over the post-Covid economic recovery is relevant for their reserve management decisions.
The same proportion of respondents say that negative rates -- the most relevant factor in last year's survey -- continues to inform their investment decisions.
The continuation of expansive monetary and fiscal policies, now combined with the prospect of rising inflation, will likely be at the forefront of central bankers' concerns for the foreseeable future, said the report.