Which Country Has the Most Gold Reserves?
Gold is widely held in high regard and often considered an investment option.
SD Bullion recently conducted an analysis on World Gold Council data to ascertain which nations hold the most reserves of precious metals – the results may surprise you!
Gold deposits can be found in unexpected places, like France and Russia. Read on to discover which country holds the largest reserves of precious metal.
1. United States
governments no longer mandate that all their currency be backed by gold, but they still maintain large stockpiles as an insurance against inflation and economic crises. These holdings can be found at Fort Knox in Kentucky; West Point in New York; Denver Mint (Colorado) or U.S. Mint (New York City).
Investors looking to diversify their portfolio with gold without owning physical metal can purchase exchange-traded funds or futures contracts, as the price has skyrocketed since 2022 due to surging global inflation and surging demand for precious metals.
Germany boasts the second-highest central bank monetary gold reserves worldwide. Two-thirds of Germany’s official foreign reserves consist of gold held by its central bank – Bundesbank’s gold reserves being the cornerstone.
But the Bundesbank has had difficulty assuaging euroskeptics who believe that its gold is being tampered with, loaned out or sold off. Since 2015, for example, no industry standard list of its bar weights or inventory has been published by them, which represents an important setback in terms of transparency.
Italy ranks third worldwide as an owner of official gold reserves with 2,451.8 tonnes held by its central bank.
China is an extremely prolific producer of gold, boasting numerous rivers and streams rich in the precious metal.
As well as this, they boast 1200 tonnes of gold stored with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – making them one of the biggest central bank gold storage customers at that location.
France holds 2435.4 tonnes of gold reserves – fourth in the world! The Banque de France lists them on their balance sheet as “Monetary Gold”, and have no plans to sell any.
Bank of France provides gold storage services to foreign central banks as well. According to their website, all the gold stored in Paris is French-owned; therefore, some gold held abroad must have been returned home since 2013. Unfortunately, an exact figure of such repatriated gold cannot be ascertained.
Russia holds nearly 160 billion ounces of gold – accounting for almost 20% of its central bank reserves – which could help evade sanctions in an emergency as the precious metal does not subject to similar restrictions as foreign currencies.
But this strategy carries its own risks. Criminal groups and kleptocrats could use Russian gold as an unofficial way of stashing wealth outside the banking system, while its black market could make keeping track of precious metal difficult.
Australia holds 17% of global gold reserves. With its longstanding mining tradition and position as the second-largest producer worldwide, Australia now ranks second as an investor and producer for gold worldwide. Exploration investments are at an all-time high and several new projects are in development.
Australia’s total economic gold resources (EDR) increased by 95 tonnes to 10 165 t in 2018, due to increases in Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.
China’s gold reserves are an integral component of Beijing’s asset diversification efforts, yet some significant amount remains “off the books.” This can be explained by the People’s Bank of China not reporting an increase in official reserves on time.
NRC Handelsblad, a reputable Dutch newspaper, reported that insiders reported covert gold purchases by the People’s Bank of China dating back to 1992; these may account for why its official reserves increased more than expected this month.
Switzerland has long been known for its safekeeping of gold reserves.
Gold has long served as an anchor of stability and a symbol of Switzerland’s financial independence.
Switzerland is an established gold trading hub, home to five of the world’s largest refineries – including Argor-Heraeus, Cendres Metaux, Metalor, PAMP and Valcambi. About 70% of global gold trade passes through Switzerland for refining or export to other markets.
Japan is an extremely seismically active region, hosting numerous gold deposits associated with hydrothermal events and warlords such as Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi using endowments of precious metal to display their power.
Following World War II, mining on an industrial scale had virtually stopped. Now foreign explorers such as Irving Resources and Japan Gold are taking advantage of changes to Japan’s mining laws to reengage with this industry.
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