As central banks around the world keep amassing gold the long suffering British people are selling any gold they have.

Since the middle of 2009 central banks have become net buyers of gold and bought a record 148.4 tonnes of the stuff in the third quarter of 2011, says Rhiannon Hoyle in the WSJ.

Much of this is attributed to countries like Russia, China, India, Bolivia and Thailand. But as these figures, which come from the IMF, are not audited then no-one really knows which country or how much.

China is also on the hunt for gold miners in their quest for more of the yellow metal.

But the buying bug hasn’t yet reached the general public in the UK a sign some say that the gold price, which has been a little volatile of late, has a long way to go before it reaches its true level.

But while they buy, the UK public seems keen to sell.

The pawnbroker Albermerle and Bond has also now taken to gold purchasing and this contributed 24% (£14.6 million) of their gross profit through its 159 stores and 38 gold buying temporary ‘pop-up’ stores normally set up in shopping centres. This is an increase of 27% on last year’s £11.5 million. The company also said that, with a presently weak gold jewellery market, it prefers to scrap jewellery if it gave them a better return.

Difficult market conditions affected our retail performance. While retail is an integral part of the store proposition and operational focus, we will continue to adopt a scrap policy if this generates a better return on capital.” Said their annual report of its jewellery retailing operation.

The gold price did suffer a sharp drop yesterday (Thursday) but BullionVault reported that several analysts suggested that this was due to investors liquidating their holdings to make up other positions.

Today the gold price has so far fluctuated between $1,717 and $1,727 per ounce (£1,087-£1097 per oz). In January it stood at about $1,400 an ounce and five years ago it was just over $600 and ounce.

But if those that believe that a lack of demand for gold amongst the public means we are still well and truly in bull market territory are right and central banks keep snapping it up, then the price of gold may yet have a lot of steam left in it.

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