Turkey cuts gold holdings for 2nd month, euro zone lifts - IMF
(Adds gold price, context)
By Manolo Serapio Jr
SINGAPORE, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Turkey cut it gold holdings for a second straight month in January, a period when the price of the precious metal rose the most in three years, International Monetary Fund data showed on Tuesday.
Turkey, which has the 12th biggest gold reserves globally, slashed its holdings by 14.227 tonnes to 514.893 tonnes last month, the IMF said.
The euro zone, on the other hand, raised its gold holdings by 7.437 tonnes to 10,791.885 tonnes in January, the data showed.
Spot gold hit a five-month high above $1,300 an ounce in January after the European Central Bank launched a multi-billion euro bond-buying program to revive a sagging euro zone economy.
Gold gained 8.4 percent last month, its biggest rise since 2012, though has since pared gains, trading at just above $1,200 on Tuesday amid expectations of a hike in U.S. rates this year.
Turkey counts gold held on deposit with commercial banks as part of the central bank's bullion holdings.
Demand in the world's fourth-largest consumer of gold is expected to fall further this year with consumers seen delaying purchases ahead of a key election while a war in Iraq and a weak Russian economy could limit jewellery exports.
Central bank buying and selling can have a significant influence on gold prices. Central banks became net buyers in 2010 after two decades as net sellers, driven by an increased interest in gold in the wake of the 2008 global economic crisis. (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Ed Davies)