MOSCOW (Commodity Online): In 2009, almost all central banks showed an increased love for gold. In the recent past, Russia's central bank addded 800,000 ounces of gold to its reserves last month, increasing its holdings of the metal to $22.4 billion.

The bank's gold reserves climbed to 20.5 million ounces from 19.7 million the previous month. And, India's central bank also purchased gold in 2009 to increase its foreign reserves.

With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) purchasing 200 tonne gold in two phases from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in November 2009, the central bank's gold holdings have increased from 357.75 to 557.75 tonne.

RBI held about 357.75 tonne, forming about 3.7% of the total foreign exchange reserves in value terms as at the end of September 2009. Out of this, 65.49 tonne is being held abroad since 1991 in deposits or safe custody with the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements.

Currently, RBI holds gold reserves worth $18.3 billion which is 6.33% of the country's total forex reserve. Gold reserves held by India stood at $10.32 billion as on September 2009. Interestingly, India's gold reserves have been rising steadily from $9.2 billion in May 2008 and touched $9.6 billion in May 2009, after falling to $8.57 billion in September 2008.

The country's total foreign exchange reserves stood at $284.3 billion.

Talking about investment pattern for foreign currency assets which were worth $264.4 billion at the end of September 2009, RBI said $148 billion was invested in securities, $111.3 billion was deposited with other central banks, BIS and the IMF and $5.1 billion was parked in the form of deposits with foreign commercial banks placed with the external asset managers.

A small portion of the reserves has been assigned to the external asset managers (EAMs), with the main objective of gaining access to and deriving benefits from their expertise and market research.

The rate of earnings on foreign currency assets and gold, after accounting for depreciation, decreased from 4.82%t in July 2007-June 2008 to 4.16% in July 2008-June 2009.