FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- The world s central banks last year bought 534.6 tons of gold in 2012, the most since 1964, as global gold demand hit a record value level, the World Gold Council said Thursday in a quarterly report. Purchases by central banks for the full year rose 17% compared with 2011, while fourth-quarter purchases of 145 tons marked a 29% rise from the same period a year earlier. "Central banks move from net sellers of gold to net buyers that we have seen in recent years has continued apace," with official sector purchases across the world now at their highest level for almost half a century, said Marcus Grubb, managing director for investment at the World Gold Council. In value terms, total gold demand in 2012 was $236.4 billion, an all-time high, the council said.
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