The World’s Biggest Gold Reserves
Who Has the Most Gold?
The price of gold eclipsed $1,600 per ounce in July, rising 12.3% in 2011, following uncertainty in the equity markets and the global economy as a whole.
The biggest individual holders of gold—central banks, international entities and governments—are believed to account for approximately 16.5 percent of the world’s gold, holding about 30,160 tons.
1. United States
Value of reserves: $459.04 billion
Holdings total: 8,965.6 tons
The United States Bullion Depository in Kentucky—otherwise known as Fort Knox—is the most famous gold stockpile in the world. It holds the majority of the nation’s gold reserves, the remainder of which is held at the Philadelphia Mint, the Denver Mint, the West Point Bullion Depository and the San Francisco Assay Office.
Altogether, the total gold reserves of the U.S. equal 8,965.6 tons and would be valued at approximately $459.04 billion in today’s market.
Value of reserves: $191.89 billion
Holdings total: 3,747.9 tons
The Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, has 3,747.9 tons of gold reserves, which are valued at about $191.89 billion. According to the World Gold Council, Germany’s gold coffers account for 71.7 percent of total foreign reserves
3. The International Monetary Fund
Value of reserves: $158.77 billion
Holdings total: 3,101.3 tons
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) oversees international economic operations of 185 member countries. Its gold policies have changed in the last 25 years, but the reserves remain to stabilize international markets and aid national economies.
In one such instance, the IMF sold a portion of its reserves in December 1999 to aid the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. The 3,101.3 tons of IMF Gold would fetch roughly $158.77 billion in the open market.
Value of reserves: $138.33 billion
Holdings total: 2,701.9 tons
The Banca D’Italia manages Italy’s foreign reserves, which have been reported at 2,701.9 tons by the World Gold Council and comprise the fourth largest gold reserve in the world.
These holdings are worth $138.33 billion and account for 71.4 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Value of reserves: $137.4 billion
Holdings total: 2,683.8 tons
The French National Bank, Banque De France, is home to the country’s gold holdings, which comprise 66.1 percent of its foreign reserves. With 2,683.8 tons of gold in reserve, France’s holdings are worth approximately $137.4 billion
Value of reserves: $59.47 billion
Holdings total: 1,161.6 tons
At 1,161.6 tons, the world’s most heavily populated country has the world’s sixth largest gold reserve. Expect it to be higher on the list? Well, bear in mind that China’s gold only accounts for 1.6 percent of its foreign reserves. With a population of 1.34 billion, the country holds about $44.38 worth of gold per person, totaling $59.47 billion.
Value of reserves: $58.68 billion
Holdings total: 1,146.2 tons
The Swiss National Bank conducts Switzerland’s monetary policy and manages the country’s 1,146.2 tons of gold.
With the world’s seventh largest reserve of the precious metal, Switzerland’s supply is worth approximately $58.68 billion in today’s gold market. It accounts for 17.6 percent of the country’s foreign reserves, though this is down significantly from a year earlier.
Value of reserves: $46.85 billion
Holdings total: 915.2 tons
The Central Bank of the Russian Federation is in charge of the country’s 915.2 tons of gold, which are valued at $46.85 billion and comprise 7.8 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
In 2009, Russia increased its gold production by 21 percent, due in part to the launch of several new mines. Last year, the country overtook Japan in total holdings, adding more than 140 tons to its stockpile in 2010 alone.
Value of reserves: $43.17 billion
Holdings total: 843.3 tons
Although Japan is ninth on the list, its 843.3 tons of gold account for only 3.3 percent of total foreign reserves. On the open market, Japan’s gold reserves would be worth around $43.17 billion, and are overseen by the Bank of Japan.
10. The Netherlands
Value of reserves: $34.56 billion
Holdings total: 674.9 tons
The Netherlands has the 10th largest reserve on the list, with 674.9 tons of gold. The Netherland Bank manages the country’s national finances, including the gold reserves, which amount to approximately $34.56 billion and account for 59.4 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Value of reserves: $31.47 billion
Holdings total: 614.6 tons
Shooting up in the rankings in the past few years is India. The second most populous nation in the world maintains the 11th largest gold reserves. The size of India’s holdings were bolstered in November 2009 by a $6.9 billion purchase of 200 tons of gold from the International Monetary Fund.
The Reserve Bank of India oversees the country’s 614.6 tons of gold, which are valued at $31.47 billion, comprising 8.7% of its foreign reserves. India’s current ranking may also continue to move upwards, as the government has asked the Geological Survey of India to mine previously untapped gold reserves in many of its states.
12. The European Central Bank
Value of reserves: $28.33 billion
Holdings total: 553.3 tons
Established in 1998 by the European Union, the European Central Bank (ECB) is responsible for the monetary policy of the member nations of the euro zone and is headquartered in Frankfurt.
The ECB’s 553.3 tons of gold accounts for 31.3 percent of the bank’s foreign reserves and would be worth $28.33 billion in today’s market.
Value of reserves: $23.9 billion
Holdings total: 466.8 tons
Renowned for its technology industry and robust economic growth, Taiwan also boasts one of the largest gold reserves in the world.
The Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) manages the island nation’s foreign reserves, which have been reported at 466.8 tons. These holdings are worth $23.9 billion at today’s prices and comprise approximately 4.6 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Value of reserves: $21.58 billion
Holdings total: 421.5 tons
The westernmost nation in mainland Europe is home to the 14th largest gold reserve in the world. At 421.5 tons, Portugal’s holdings are overseen by Banco de Portugal and are valued at roughly $21.58 billion, accounting for 84.8 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Value of reserves: $20.64 billion
Holdings total: 403.1 tons
Banco Central de Venezuela manages the 403.1 tons of gold in the country’s reserves, which amount to approximately $20.64 billion, representing 64.8 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Although Venezuela currently is 15th on the list, it has been increasing its holdings since 2009, when president Hugo Chavez introduced new policies to promote gold extraction and boost the country’s ranking.