(AGI) Beijing, Sept 30 - China increased its gold reserves by 1percent in August, equivalent today to 54.45 million troyounces, as against the 53.93 million reported at the end ofJuly. In July, China broke a 6-year silence on the goldreserves it kept, unexpectedly releasing a figure up 57 percenton the April 2009 report. This recent climb was due to a recordfall in prices, enabling hoarding through various channels,according to the country's central bank. The price of gold hasdropped by some 40 percent since 2011 - a record. And it isstill falling. Today China ranks fifth in terms of goldreserves, following the United States, Germany, Italy andFrance and ahead of Russia. July figures from the World GoldCouncil showed Russia falling behind with its gold amounting to1.6 percent of its Forex reserves, compared with the UnitedStates' 73 percent, and Italy's and France's 65 percent.Beijing is now issuing its figures every month, and has becomeone of the top gold purchasers, accounting for approximately 23percent of total trades.. .