The 10 Biggest Gold-Hoarding Countries In The World

Fort Knox

Governments around the world are beginning to signal a loss of faith in the U.S. dollar as the international currency. But actions speak louder than words.

Mexico’s central bank spent $4.6 billion buying 93.3 tons of gold in February and March. China was a big buyer of gold in 2010, and is expected to continue buying this year.

In fact, central banks have ended a 20-year trend to become net buyers of gold, according to a report by Central Banking Publications, that surveyed mangers of 39 reserve banks.

Many countries already have established gold portfolios, and some have already started to hint that they intend to buy more.

#10 India

Official gold holdings: 558 tonnes

per cent of reserves: 8.3%

The Indian central bank's gold holdings lag those of major economies but it is known to buy IMF gold, having spent $6.7 billion on 200 tonnes of gold at the end of 2009. The RBI maintains that it looks at gold as a safe investment but rarely comments on its plans to buy gold.

Source: World Gold Council

#9 Netherlands

#8 Japan

Official gold holdings: 756 tonnes

per cent of reserves: 3.1%

The Bank of Japan recently sold gold to pump ¥20 trillion into the economy to calm investors after the tsunami and resulting nuclear disaster in Japan.

Source: World Gold Council

#7 Russia

Official gold holdings: 792 tonnes

per cent of reserves: 7.3%

The Bank of Russia is expected to buy gold in 2011 to boost the country's reserves. It's only looking to buy from the domestic market, however.

Source: World Gold Council

#6 Switzerland

Official gold holdings: 1,040 tonnes

per cent of reserves: 16.3%

Between 2000 - 2005 the Swiss National Bank sold 1,300 tonnes of gold which was in part tied to the launch of the euro. In 2010, its gold reserves reached a quarter of its total reserves. The SNB doesn't appear to be in a rush to buy any more.

Source: World Gold Council

#5 China

Official gold holdings: 1054 tonnes

per cent of reserves: 1.6%

The People's Bank of China is looking to buy more as it looks to hedge itself against property bubbles, inflation, and currencies like the euro and dollar. The country is the world's largest gold producer.

Source: World Gold Council

#4 France

Official gold holdings: 2,435 tonnes

per cent of reserves: 66%

France is in a pact with other European central banks to limit gold sales. The 19 signatories have sold aproximately 10 tonnes of gold in the first year of their new agreement (Sept. 2009 - Sept. 2010).

Source: World Gold Council

#3 Italy

Official gold holdings: 2,452 tonnes

per cent of reserves: 69%

Italian banks, which are shareholders of the Bank of Italy, are looking to use gold to bolster their balance sheets ahead of stress tests.

Source: World Gold Council

#2 Germany

Official gold holdings: 3,401 tonnes

per cent of reserves: 70.8%

Germany's Bundesbank capped its sale of gold 6.5 metric tons for a second year. It has shown interest in buying Portugal's gold.

Source: World Gold Council

#1 United States

Official gold holdings: 8,134 tonnes

per cent of reserves: 74.8%

Central bankers around the world may be reacting to the weakness of the dollar with their purchase of gold.

Source: World Gold Council

And what's stoking the worries of investors and bankers around the world?

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