Saudi Arabia's central bank holds more than twice the amount of gold previously estimated, a shift that analysts said reflected more of an accounting adjustment than an indication the oil rich nation was veering away from its conservative reserve policy.
A June report by the World Gold Council, an industry group that tracks gold bullion holdings by nations the world over, showed the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency's gold reserve figure climbed to 322.9 tons compared to 143 tons reported in March.
The council said its gold data was "modified from the first quarter 2008 as a result of the adjustment of the SAMA's gold accounts."
Analysts said the change either signaled an accounting revision or that the kingdom, which sits atop the world's largest proven reserves of conventional crude oil, had stepped up buying gold in 2008 as the metal's value took a frequent beating during the global economic meltdown.
The same financial downturn also pummeled the price of oil, Saudi Arabia's chief export.