Beijing answers Trump’s tariffs with massive gold-buying spree

China’s vast gold stockpile saw another boost in May, marking an ongoing increase for a sixth straight month, according to the latest data published by the People’s Bank of China.

Last month, the central bank raised its bullion reserves to 61.61 million ounces from 61.10 million in the previous month. As of the end of May, the nation’s stockpile was valued at $79.83 billion compared to $78.35 billion a month earlier. In tonnage terms that marks an increase of 15.86 tons, after almost 58 tons of gold were added over the five months through April.

In May, the country’s total foreign exchange reserves, the world’s largest, reportedly edged  0.2 percent, or $6 billion higher, reaching $3.101 trillion. The increase shifted the expectations of analysts polled by Reuters, who projected the reserves to drop by five billion to $3.090 trillion.

The latest boost to Beijing’s gold stash reportedly reflects China’s move towards diversifying its bullion and foreign currency holdings amid the protracted trade dispute with the US.

Chinese authorities are seeking “determined diversification” away from US dollar assets, according to Helen Lau, an analyst at Argonaut Securities, as quoted by Bloomberg. The expert expects China to buy 150 tons of gold by the end of the current year.

The world’s two biggest economies are currently involved in a simmering trade spat that has resulted in billions in tariffs being imposed on mutual exports. In the latest escalation the US increased tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. In response, China introduced duties of 25 percent on 5,000 US products worth $60 billion.