chinese dragon
© Global Look Press / Mark Thomas
The People's Bank of China increased its gold reserves for a third straight month in February, bringing total holdings to 1,874 tons, or 60.26 million ounces. The move is part of China's strategy to shift away from the US dollar.

According to the central bank, it has added about 32 tons of the precious metal to its coffers in the last three months, purchasing some 10 tons in February.

Before December, the Chinese central bank had not reported an increase in gold reserves for more than two years, and the official figures remained unchanged from October 2016 to November 2018. Analysts say Beijing is trying "to diversify its reserves" away from the greenback.

The uptick in gold holdings comes at a time when global central banks are hoarding the commodity. In January, China dropped to sixth place among the world's largest holders of gold behind Russia.

The amount of gold added by global central banks in 2018 hit the second highest annual total on record, according to World Gold Council (WGC) estimates. Countries bought 651.5 metric tons of gold last year, and now hold nearly 34,000 tons. As a safe haven hedge, gold will become more attractive in 2019, due to greater market uncertainties and the expansion of protectionist economic policies, WGC forecasts.