ANALYSIS-Yellow-BRIC road leads to mystery gold buyers
* China, India emerge as most likely buyers
* Central banks bought 20 tonnes in Q3, 208.9T in 2011 -IMF
* Clues are big FX reserves, delays to reporting times
By Amanda Cooper
LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Will the mystery official buyer of gold please step forward?
The World Gold Council's third-quarter demand report on Thursday showed central bank buying reached nearly 150 tonnes, far above most analysts' estimates, but the buyers were not named.
According to an analysis by Reuters of IMF data, previous buying patterns and delays in data reporting, the most obvious candidates are China and India.
Judging from the trend over the last two years, the purchasers are almost certainly nations with large external surpluses and big foreign exchange reserves, the bulk of which are in the emerging world, with nations in Asia or Latin American being the most likely.
According to Reuters calculations based on data from the International Monetary Fund, central banks have bought a net 208.9 tonnes of gold so far in 2011. The IMF data has identified buyers for a net 20.0 tonnes in the third quarter, creating a mysterious discrepancy of nearly 130 tonnes. Continued...