|ORO Y PLATA INTERNACIONAL S.A.
* Mexico ups gold reserves by over 90
tonnes in two months
* Mexic onow ranks 33 among official holders of gold
MEXICO CITY, May 4 (Reuters) - Mexico massively ramped up its gold
reserves in the first quarter of this year, buying over $4 billion of bullion as
emerging economies move away from the ailing U.S. dollar, which has
dipped to 2-1/2-year lows.
The third biggest one-off purchase of gold by any country over the past
decade took Mexico's reserves to 100.15 tonnes -- or 3.22 million ounces --
by the end of March from just 6.84 tonnes at the end of January, according
to the International Monetary Fund and Mexico's central bank.
Gold has gained 11 percent this year, driven by concern over euro zone
debt and the violence in the Arab world, as well as by the U.S. dollar's 7.6
percent decline against a basket of currencies .DXY.
Sergio Martin, chief economist for HSBC in Mexico, said the government
probably saw gold as a highly liquid asset that would reduce exposure to
the falling greenback.
"They're probably thinking that getting out of dollars and into gold makes
sense because we know that the dollar has some trend to depreciate in the
near future at least," said Martin. "I don't think they're going to lose money
Mexico's foreign currency and asset reserves hit a record $128 billion in
April, making the gold purchased mostly in February and March worth
nearly 4 percent of that total. Mexican central bank data on gold holdings
only exists through March.