History enthusiasts know there was a time where nations like the United States operated on a gold standard.
While this is no longer a part of modern economies, central banks still buy and hold large amounts of gold bullion. 2012 marked a turning point where these entities became net buyers of bullion after years of selling. Central banks embarked on a buying spree starting in 2018, purchasing about 650 trillion tonnes of gold across the year and into 2019. Buying continued at a quick pace in 2020 amid economic turbulence due to the coronavirus.
Despite the purchases, the list of gold reserves by country has largely remained the same over the past several years. Today, the top ten nations with the largest amount of gold reserves hold about 75% of all worldwide central bank bullion.
Curious to learn which nations make up the list of largest gold reserves? Keep reading to understand more.
1. The United States: it might not be surprising that America maintains the largest official central bank gold holdings in the world. With about 8,133.5 tonnes of gold, America’s collection is equal to the next three nations on the list combined. The vast majority of gold is stored in Kentucky at Fort Knox, with more stashed at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, the San Francisco Assay office, and the Bullion Depository at West Point. The United States also has the largest gold allocation as a percentage of foreign reserves, at 79%.
2. Germany: The European country has long been the second-largest gold holder, as the Deutsche Bundesbank stores about 3,365.2 tonnes of bullion. Half of the nation’s reserves are stored in the country, with other allocations at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the Bank of England in London. In 2013, Germany released details of a plan to store half of the nation’s gold inside its borders by moving 674 tonnes from France and the United States.
3. Italy: With about 2,451.8 tonnes of gold in reserve, Italy has the third largest gold reserves amount. The nation values its bullion according to the Euro’s accounting rules and Italy’s central bank says the gold is to bolster confidence in Italy’s currency and economic system. Former Bank of Italy governor Mario Draghi said in 2013 that gold was a “reserve of safety” that protects against dollar fluctuations.
4. France: The French hold about 2,436 tonnes of the yellow metal. France’s central bank has been conservative with its gold holdings, selling very little over the past few years. Some national politicians have even gone as far as to call for the repatriation of the country’s gold reserves from overseas vaults. The last major gold selloff was conducted by President Nicholas Sarkozy in 2004 in order to raise money to pay off debts and invest in various bonds and other currencies.
5. Russia: Russia’s central bank has been one of the globe’s largest gold buyers and now has just under 2,300 tonnes of the metal. Notably, authorities bought 224 tonnes of bullion as part of an effort to diversify outside of the U.S. dollar in light of worsening international relations. Russia also stands as the world’s third-largest gold producer, part of President Vladimir Putin’s strategy to enhance the nation’s gold supply.
6. China: With 1,948 tonnes of gold, China comes in sixth place for the most gold reserves by country. However, the precious metal still is just a fraction of the nation’s overall reserves, though China continues to purchase gold at a fast pace. China is also the world’s number one gold producing country. In 2015, national authorities decided to share buying activity for the first time since 2009.
7. Switzerland: Switzerland is famous for its banking and financial sector, and its national bank holds about 1,040 tonnes of gold. Despite placing seventh, Switzerland actually has the globe’s largest gold reserves per capita. The nation has long been a center of global gold trading. Today, the vast majority of Swiss gold is held at the Swiss National Bank, and the nation primarily trades bullion with China and Hong Kong.
Buying Gold Continues To Be Popular
Many countries aspire to purchase a variety of assets to remain economically competitive, but gold continues to be one of the top choices due to economic uncertainty and questions about financial stability. Many nations have aspired to purchase.