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Gold reserve

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Gold reserve

World Gold Reserves from 1845 to 2013, in tonnes (also known as metric tons in the United States)
Official U.S. gold reserve since 1900
Changes in Central Bank Gold Reserves by Country 1993-2014
Changes in Central Bank Gold Reserves by Country versus time for the last 10 years
Gold reserves per capita

A gold reserve is the gold held by a national central bank, intended as a store of value and as a guarantee to redeem promises to pay depositors, note holders (e.g. paper money), or trading peers, or to secure a currency.

It has been estimated that all the gold mined by the end of 2011 totalled 171,300 tonnes.[1] At a price of US$1,500 per troy ounce, reached on 12 April 2013, one tonne of gold has a value of approximately US$48.2 million. The total value of all gold ever mined would exceed US$8.2 trillion at that valuation.[note 1]

However, there are varying estimates of the total amount of gold mined to date, mainly because gold has been mined for thousands of years around the world. Another reason is that some countries are not particularly open about how much gold they are mining. In addition, it is difficult to account for gold output in illegal mining activities.[2]


  • Gold Reserves - Wartime Relevance (Example from World War II) 1
  • IMF Gold Holdings 2
  • Officially Reported Gold Holdings 3
  • Privately Held Gold 4
  • World Gold Holdings 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8

Gold Reserves - Wartime Relevance (Example from World War II)

During most of history, a nation's gold reserves were considered its key financial asset and a major prize of war. A typical view was expressed in a secret memorandum by the British Chief of the Imperial General Staff from October 1939, at the beginning of World War II. The British Military and the British Secret Service laid out “measures to be taken in the event of an invasion of Holland and Belgium by Germany” and presented them to the War Cabinet:

“It will be for the [3]

The Belgian government rushed to ship the gold to a safe place: Dakar, the capital of Senegal, then part of the French colonial empire. After the Germans occupied Belgium and France in 1940, they demanded the Belgian gold reserve back. In 1941, Vichy French officials arranged the transport of almost 5,000 boxes with 221 tons of gold to officials of the German Reichsbank.

IMF Gold Holdings

Since early 2011, the gold holdings of the IMF has been constant at 90.5 million troy ounces (2,814.1 metric tons).[4]

Officially Reported Gold Holdings

The IMF regularly maintains statistics of national assets as reported by various countries.[5] These data are used by the World Gold Council to periodically rank and report the gold holdings of countries and official organizations.

On 17 July 2015, China announced that it increased its gold reserves by about 57 percent from 1,054 to 1,658 metric tons, while disclosing its official gold reserves for the first time in six years.[6][7]

The gold listed for each of the countries in the table may not be physically stored in the country listed, as central banks generally have not allowed independent audits of their reserves. Gold leasing by central banks could place into doubt the reported gold holdings in the table below.[8]

Top 40 according to World Gold Council's "September 2015" rankings[9][10][11][12]
Rank Country/Organization Gold holdings
(in tonnes)
Gold's share of
forex reserves
1  United States 8,133.5 72.6%
2  Germany 3,381.0 66.8%
3 International Monetary Fund 2,814.0 N.A.
4  Italy 2,451.8 64.9%
5  France 2,435.4 65.2%
6  China 1,677.4 1.6%
7  Russia 1,288.2 12.7%
8   Switzerland 1,040.0 6.1%
9  Japan 765.2 2.2%
10  Netherlands 612.5 56.3%
11  India 557.7 5.5%
12 European Central Bank 504.8 25.1%
13  Turkey[13] 499.9 14.9%
14  Republic of China (Taiwan) 423.6 3.8%
15  Portugal 382.5 72.5%
16  Venezuela 361.0 66.6%
17  Saudi Arabia 322.9 1.7%
18  United Kingdom 310.3 8.8%
19  Lebanon 286.8 19.8%
20  Spain 281.6 18.4%
21  Austria 280.0 43.3%
22  Belgium 227.4 33.5%
23  Kazakhstan 208.1 25.3%
24  Philippines 195.5 8.6%
25  Algeria 173.6 3.7%
26  Thailand 152.4 3.4%
27  Singapore 127.4 1.7%
28  Sweden 125.7 7.4%
29  South Africa 125.2 9.6%
30  Mexico 122.1 2.2%
31  Libya 116.6 4.8%
32  Greece 112.6 70.0%
33 Bank for International Settlements 108.0 N.A.
34  South Korea 104.4 1.0%
35  Romania 103.7 10.3%
36  Poland 102.9 3.5%
37  Iraq 89.8 4.7%
38  Australia 79.8 5.6%
39  Kuwait 79.0 8.0%
40  Indonesia 78.1 2.6%

Privately Held Gold

Privately Held Gold[14]
Rank Name Type Gold holdings
(in tonnes)
1 SPDR Gold Shares ETF 672.7[15]
2 ETF Securities Gold Funds ETF 215.2[14]
3 COMEX Gold Trust ETF 164.7[14]
4 ZKB Physical Gold ETF 138.7[14]
5 Central Fund of Canada CEF 52.7[16]
6 Julius Baer Physical Gold Fund ETF 49.1[14]
7 Sprott Physical Gold Trust CEF 38.6[17]
8 BullionVault Bailment 34.2[18]
9 ABSA NewGold Exchange Traded Fund ETF 26.6[19]
10 ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares ETF 23.4[20]
11 Central GoldTrust CEF 21.9[21]
12 GoldMoney Bailment 19.4[22]

World Gold Holdings

World Gold Holdings (2011)
(Source: United States Geological Survey)[1][23]
Location Gold holdings
(in tonnes)
Share of total
world gold holdings
Total 171,300 100%
Jewellery 84,300 49.2%
Investment (bars, coins) 33,000 19.26%
Central banks 29,500 17.2%
Industrial 20,800 12.14%
Unaccounted 3,700 2.2%

See also


  1. ^ One tonne is equal to approximately 32,150.75 troy ounces.


  1. ^ a b the "Production" section on that pagebeforeon page 2 of the pdf file; last paragraph just
  2. ^
  3. ^ Memorandum by War Cabinet Secretary E. E. Bridges from October 6, 1939, Secret: Holland and Belgium: Measures to be taken in the event of an invasion by Germany. P. 1 and 4. The National Archives (United Kingdom)
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "中国人民银行、国家外汇管理局有关负责人就我国全口径外债、外汇储备、黄金储备等情况答记者问(17 July 2015)"
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ World Official Gold Holdings.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Top 40 reported official gold holdings (as at June 2015)" is on the 24th page of the pdf file.
  13. ^ Gold has been added to Turkey’s balance sheet as a result of a policy accepting gold in its reserve requirements from commercial banks.
  14. ^ a b c d e
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
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