(April 20, 2017 - by George King Cassell)

Russia added around 800,000 oz (25 metric tons ) of gold to its official reserves in March, data released by the country's central bank indicated Thursday.

The figure is up from 300,000 oz (9 metric tons) reported in February, but below 1 million oz (31 metric tons) for January.

Russia's central bank reports gold reserves initially in monetary value before releasing the volume on the International Monetary Fund website at a later date, but additions can be calculated using the month-end London Bullion Market Association gold price.

It takes total gold holdings to around 1,680 metric tons, making it the world's seventh-largest holder of gold reserves, according to the IMF, behind the US, Germany, the IMF itself, Italy, France and China.

Russia has been the world's largest central bank purchaser of gold in recent years, adding around 200 mt of gold to its reserves in 2016.

China's central bank, the next largest buyer in recent years, added 80 mt of gold in 2016 but has made no new additions since October.

Other notable buyers include Turkey and Kazakhstan, which have added 36 mt and 5.6 mt so far this year, respectively.

Last year saw Turkey's gold holdings decline by up to 140 mt, according to the IMF, largely due to a change in the way it reports gold in its reserve requirements.