With the price of gold reaching an all-time high of over $1,050 per ounce, resourceINTELLIGENCE TV have taken the (not very novel) approach of looking at countries with the largest gold reserves
As of June 2009, world gold holdings are are believed to be approximately 29,634 tonnes. But the numbers vary greatly as a percentage of each country’s reserves. For example, the US holds 8,133.5 tonnes of gold which represents 77.4% of its total reserves. Compare that with China, which has just 1,054 tonnes for 1.9% of reserves – and much of the rest is made up by its more than $2 trillion USD in foreign reserves. With the greenback becoming devalued and gold appreciating in value, we are now seeing China and others divesting of USD and acquiring larger reserves of gold, thus pushing the price to new heights.
The question remains: which individual countries have the most gold?
Gold reserves: 356.4 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 36.1%
Gold Reserve Value: $13.2 billion
Banco Central de Venezuela manages the 356.4 tonnes of gold in the country’s reserves, which amount to approximately $13.2 billion and represent 36.1% of Venezuela’s foreign reserves. Although Venezuela currently has the fifteenth largest reserve on the list, president Hugo Chavez announced in June 2009 that his government has introduced new policies to promote gold extraction and boost its ranking. His track record for efficiency, however, only excels in nationalizing projects.
Gold reserves: 357.7 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 4.0%
Gold Reserve Value: $13.2 billion
The second most populous nation in the world has the fourteenth largest reserves on the World Gold Council’s. The Reserve Bank of India maintains the country’s 357.7 tonnes of gold, which are valued at $14.2 billion and comprise 4.0% of its foreign reserves. India’s current ranking may improve, however, as the government has asked the Geological Survey of India to mine the previously untapped gold reserves in many of its states.
Gold reserves: 382.5 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 90.9%
Gold Reserve Value: $14.2 billion
The birthplace of the sweet fortified wine known as Porto is home to the thirteenth largest gold reserve in the world. At 382.5 tonnes , Portugal’s holdings are overseen by Banco de Portugal and are worth roughly $14.2 billion, accounting for 90.9 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Gold reserves: 423.6 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 3.9%
Gold Reserve Value: $15.7 billion
Renowned for its technology industry and robust economic growth, Taiwan also boasts the tallest building in the world (The Taipei 101 Tower) and the twelfth largest gold reserve in the world. The island nation’s foreign reserves have been reported at 423.6 tonnes. At today’s prices these holdings are worth $15.7 billion and comprise 3.9 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
11. European Central Bank (ECB)
Gold reserves: 501.4 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 18.8%
Gold Reserve Value: $18.6 billion
Established in 1998 by the European Union, the European Central Bank (above) is the keeper of the monetary policy of the member nations of the Eurozone. Headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, the bank guards 501 tonnes of gold accounts for 18.8 percent of the ECB’s foreign reserves and would be worth $18.6 billion in the spot market.
Gold reserves: 568.4 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 4.3%
Gold Reserve Value: $21.1 billion
Russia has the tenth largest gold reserve on the list, and the fifth largest gold producer in the world. The Central Bank of the Russian Federation is in charge of the country’s 568.4 tonnes of gold, which are valued at $21.1 billion and comprise 4.3% of the country’s foreign reserves. Last year Russia reversed five straight years of production declines with a 13% increase. In the first seven months of 2009 Russia increased its gold production by 21.1%, due in part to the launch of several new mines. This comes just in time for a country that has struggled mightily with recessionary pressures.
Gold reserves: 612.5 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 59.6%
Gold Reserve Value: $22.7 billion
More than windmills and tulips, the Netherlands is home to the ninth largest gold reserve in the world with 612.5 tonnes of gold. The Netherland Bank manages the country’s national finances, including the gold reserves, which amount to approximately $22.7 billion in the current market and account for 59.6 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Gold reserves: 765.2 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 2.3%
Gold Reserve Value: $28.3 billion
Rumor has it that the two Japanese nationals who tried to smuggle $134 billion in fake US bearer bonds into Switzerland were caught only after they tried to sell the customs officials 765 tonnes of fools gold. Like China, Japan holds a wealth of its reserves in USD, which is why its 765.2 tonnes of gold account for only 2.3 percent of total foreign reserves. At today’s prices, these are valued at $28.3 billion.
Gold reserves: 1040.1 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 29.1%
Gold Reserve Value: $38.5 billion
The Swiss National Bank conducts Switzerland’s monetary policy and guards the country’s 1040.1 tonnes of gold. Switzerland’s gold reserve value is about $10 billion greater than Japan’s, but you can be sure the Swiss aren’t foolhardy enough to hold as much in USD. With the world’s seventh largest reserve of the precious metal, Switzerland’s supply is worth approximately $38.5 billion in today’s gold market, accounting for 29.1 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Gold reserves: 1054 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 1.9%
Gold Reserve Value: $39 billion
At 1159.4 tons, one might expect the world’s most heavily populated country to hold more in the way of gold reserves. Well, bear in mind that China’s gold only accounts for 1.9 percent of its foreign reserves and about $2.2 trillion in USD. Just imagine what the waning dollar is doing to the value of their FX! With a population of 1.3 billion, China holds about $30 worth of gold per person, totaling $39 billion.
Gold reserves: 2,445.1 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 70.6%
Gold Reserve Value: $90.6 billion
Now we’re getting into some really big bucks. The French have a gold tradition that goes back centuries, and it’s paying off. The French National Bank, Banque De France, is home to the country’s gold holdings, which comprise 70.6 percent of its foreign reserves. With 2,445.1 tonnes of gold in reserve, France’s holdings are worth approximately $90.6 billion.
Gold reserves: 2,451.8 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 66.6%
Like France, Italy has a long and rich gold history that dates back to its Roman roots. The country’s reserves, which were reported at 2,451.8 tonnes of gold by the World Gold Council, comprise the fourth largest gold reserve in the world. These holdings are worth $91 billion and account for 66.6 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
3. International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Gold reserves: 3,217.3 tonnes
Gold Reserve Value: $119.1 billion
The IMF (above) needs a lot of security to guard the international economic operations of 185 member countries. The IMF is only one of three entities who’s gold reserves are valued over $100 billion. The IMF recently approved a plan to sell one eighth of its gold holdings, about 403 tonnes, and China could be a key buyer. Its gold policies have changed in the last 25 years, but the reserves are used to stabilize international markets and aid national economies. Resources linked to the gold sales will also be used indirectly to increase the Fund’s capacity to provide concessional loans to low-income countries (and to pay for all the police).
Gold reserves: 3,408.3 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 69.2%
Perhaps some of the documents involving the U.S. gold reserve that the Federal Reserve Board is refusing to release to GATA involve the German gold reserve, the Bundesbank, and gold leasing.
In either case, the bank asserts that most the bulk of its 3,408.3 tonnes worth $126.2 billion are held at home, under lock and schnitzel.
1. United States
Gold reserves: 8,133.5 tonnes
Percentage of Reserves: 77.4%
The United States Bullion Depository in Kentucky, AKA Fort Knox, is the most famous gold stockpile in the world. This veritable fortress holds the bulk of the nation’s gold reserves, the remainder of which is held at the Philadelphia Mint, the Denver Mint, the West Point Bullion Depository and the San Francisco Assay Office. The total gold reserves of the United States is 8,133.5 tonnes, almost three times greater than its closest rival, Germany. Total value? $300 billion at today’s prices… just a fraction of the $1.4 trillion deficit the country ran last year.
Source: World Gold Council