Which Country Has the Most Gold Reserves?
Nations maintain gold reserves to help combat inflation. This list compiled using central bank and finance ministry data as of April 2021 displays those countries with the greatest gold reserves.
Germany’s Bundesbank, Italy’s Banca d’Italia and France’s Banque de France are among the world’s top 10 gold hoarders. Russia is rapidly joining their ranks as it seeks to diversify beyond American assets.
Gold has long been considered a secure store of value during times of volatility and can serve as one of the cornerstones of many countries’ monetary reserves. Because it does not carry credit or counterparty risks, it provides a steady foundation upon which to build financial strength.
The United States holds more than 8,100 tons of bullion reserves – almost as much as its three rival holders combined: Germany, Italy and France.
Though most governments no longer mandate that their currency be backed by gold (President Richard Nixon abolished the gold standard in 1971), many central banks continue to store large quantities of bullion as an insurance against hyperinflation or any other economic disasters. Indeed, multiple central banks have become net buyers of bullion in recent months likely in response to political upheavals.
China’s unwillingness to disclose its gold holdings demonstrates its strategic value as an asset. The People’s Bank of China and State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) dominate most aspects of China’s gold market; SAFE reports to a Communist Party committee and operates Shanghai Gold Exchange while also overseeing Beijing-based Central Huijin Investment Company which owns interests in several large commercial banks in China.
China has recently been increasing its gold purchases to counterbalance the dollar’s dominance as a reserve currency, although revealing official holdings would likely cause both currency and gold prices to spike substantially. Ross Norman believes China may have amassed between 15-30 tonnes in total over the past 10 years.
Gold has become the primary currency in India due to its safe, liquid, and resilient assets that perform well during crises. Furthermore, its international price is transparent, and can easily be traded anytime; additionally it acts as a great diversification measure for forex reserves of countries around the world.
RBI’s recent purchases of gold form part of its plan to diversify its foreign exchange reserves and reduce dependence on the dollar. Their purchase may continue until there is evidence that inflation has subsided and rupee values have appreciated.
Indian households have also amassed vast quantities of gold, becoming one of the largest holders globally. They use it as a safe haven against inflation and geopolitical risks.
Gold has long been seen as a refuge during times of economic unease and inflationary pressure, making up a core component of central bank reserves for centuries. Recently, central banks have been net purchasers of gold as they seek to diversify their asset portfolios by adding this precious metal as a hedge.
Though gold prices have experienced considerable volatility recently, demand remains strong. Global gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) experienced outflows for three consecutive months as rapid US rate rises dimmed investor enthusiasm for non-yielding investments such as gold.
Venezuela will sell approximately 15 tonnes of its gold reserves to the United Arab Emirates this week for euros, according to sources familiar with the matter. This sale marks Venezuela’s second of this year and follows on the export last year of $900 million worth of unrefined gold to Turkey.
Switzerland is best-known for being an important trading hub and gold refining center, but it also holds one of the largest official hoards worldwide – no coincidence given Switzerland’s stable economy and strong finances that made it such an appealing repository of wealth.
Switzerland boasts more than one thousand tonnes of gold in its central bank reserves, or 231 grams per person – surpassing Germany, Italy and America combined by an order of magnitude! And this figure doesn’t even take into account privately held bars or jewellery.
However, Switzerland remains opaque about its holdings. BullionByPost reached out to the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to inquire about their gold holdings but it refused to provide any details – suggesting it may still be hidden somewhere within their vaults.