The 10 countries with the biggest piles of gold

Getty Images/Dario Pignatelli/BloombergEmployees push a trolley laden with crates of one kilogram gold bars at the YLG Bullion International Co. headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • The volume of gold bought by central banks in 2018 rose to its highest level since the end of the Gold Standard nearly a half a century ago.
  • That trend has continued this year, with February seeing the most monthly purchases in four months.
  • The US holds the largest amount of reserves – here are the countries that are closest behind.

In 2018, the volume of gold bought by central banks rose to its highest level since nearly a half a century ago.

That trend has continued into this year, with February seeing the most monthly purchases in four months. Here’s how much each country held as of early April 2019, according to the latest available data from the International Monetary Fund and the World Gold Council.


10. India

Official gold holdings: 608.7 tonnes

Per cent of foreign reserves in gold: 6.4%

As the global economy slows, emerging markets have looked to increase holdings of the yellow metal. In India, reserves have been increasing steadily since last August.


9. Netherlands

Official gold holdings: 612.5 tonnes

Per cent of foreign reserves in gold: 65.9%

The Netherlands has also moved to bring its gold reserves closer to home in recent years. In 2014, the Dutch central bank said repatriating some of its holdings from New York would have “a positive effect on public confidence.”


8. Japan

Official gold holdings: 765.2 tonnes

Per cent of foreign reserves in gold: 2.5%

Japan’s share of global foreign exchange reserves rose to a 15-year high at 5.2% last year, according to the IMF. But gold only accounts for a relatively small portion of that, about the same per cent as China.


7. Switzerland

KEYSTONE/Martin Ruetschi

Official gold holdings: 1,040 tonnes

Per cent of foreign reserves in gold: 5.5%

With a population of about 8.4 million, Switzerland is said to have the largest gold reserves per capita.


6. China

Official gold holdings: 1,874.3 tonnes

Per cent of foreign reserves in gold: 2.5%

As China pursues stimulus measures to soften the blow of a long-expected slowdown, its central bank has also been steadily increasing its gold reserves. March marked the fourth consecutive month of gains.


5. Russia

Official gold holdings: 2,150.5 tonnes

Per cent of foreign reserves in gold: 19.1%

In a bid to reduce reliance on American assets, Russia has been buying more of the yellow metal. Its reserves have quadrupled over the past decade, according to Bloomberg.


4. France

Official gold holdings: 2,436 tonnes

Per cent of foreign reserves in gold: 61.1%

Last year, Reuters reported the Bank of France began working to improve the quality of its gold reserves. The move was meant to help it trade on the international market.


3. Italy

Official gold holdings: 2,451.8 tonnes

Per cent of foreign reserves in gold: 66.9%

Following the rise of the populist 5 Star Movement, the future of the yellow metal in Italy appears uncertain. Earlier this month, Rome proposed that official ownership of gold reserves be transferred from the Bank of Italy to the public.


2. Germany

Official gold holdings: 3,369.7 tonnes

Per cent of foreign reserves in gold: 70.6%

Germany repatriated billions of dollars’ worth of its gold in 2017, a move central banks in the eurozone have been taking to bolster public confidence. Some of its reserves had previously been held in Paris and New York.


1. The United States

Official gold holdings: 8,133.5 tonnes

Per cent of foreign reserves in gold: 74.9%

The US is reported to hold significantly more gold reserves than other countries – over twice that of the next two countries together. Between 1913 and 1961, the Federal Reserve was required to hold gold equal to up to 40% of the value of the currency.


SEE ALSO:

11 mind-blowing facts about Texas’ economy

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.