Zurich: The European Central Bank and its peers around the continent are allowing an agreement on coordinating gold sales to expire, saying it has become obsolete.

Consistent sales of gold reserves prompted the agreement starting in 1999 to avoid large disposals of metal that could disrupt the market. But since then, market liquidity and the investor base has improved, according to a joint statement published on Friday.

Even with the pact’s scheduled demise on September 26, member institutions said they currently don’t have any plans to sell “significant amounts” of gold.

Central banks held about one fifth of all the gold ever mined at the end of last year, with holdings concentrated in Western European and North America, a legacy of the age when countries’ currencies were backed by the precious metal, according to the World Gold Council.

Countries from Russia to China to Poland have added to reserves as economic growth slows, trade and geopolitical tensions rise, and authorities seek to diversify away from the dollar. Bullion holdings rose by 651.5 tonnes last year, the most since 1971.