BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- China increased its gold reserves for a third straight month in February, data from the central bank showed.
The country's gold reserves amounted to 60.26 million ounces by the end of last month, a slight growth from January, according to the People's Bank of China (PBOC).
The gold reserves were equivalent to around 79.5 billion U.S. dollars, edging up from 79.3 billion dollars in the previous month, the PBOC said.
The latest gold purchase by the world's second-largest economy came at a time when global central banks are hoarding the precious metal.
According to the World Gold Council, global gold demand increased 4 percent year on year to 4,345.1 tonnes last year. The amount of gold bought by central banks reached the highest since 1971, the year when the dollar's peg to bullion was scrapped.
Gold reserves of central banks around the world surged 651.5 tonnes, or 74 percent year on year, in 2018.
As a safe haven hedge, gold will become more attractive in 2019, due to greater market uncertainties and the expansion of protectionist economic policies, according to a forecast from the World Gold Council.